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‘Hold On, Pain Ends’: Javi Shares Her Mental Health Struggles to Inspire Change

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! This year we’re sharing an inspiring story to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health disorders.

By Javi Barria

I was in middle school when my mental health started deteriorating. Every day I would hide under tables, cover my ears, or hit my head. I would lash out at anyone who tried to help me. I was anxious 24/7. But I kept denying what was happening. I told myself that I was fine, that I was just going through a rough couple of days. Then days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.

Mental health is something that affects everyone. Whether it is a bad mental health day or a mental health disorder, it is something we all will have to face at some point in our life. Mental health disorders and illness do not discriminate. It is an open door that any of us could walk through at any point in life. I know when I walked through that door, it felt like a train hitting me at full speed.

Throughout the years I have learned many things, but I think the most important has been that at the end of the day material things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, what house you live in, or how many digits your bank account reaches. What matters is the relationships we have and the bonds we’ve worked so hard to build. We have to take care of each other.

In June 2019, Javi met with U.S. Senator Patty Murray, among other members of congress, during the 2019 Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.

At Seattle Children’s, a staff member taught me an acronym one day. HOPE. It got me through some of my darkest days and because of everyone who believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself, I am able to share it with you today.

Hold On, Pain Ends


Read more about Javi’s story here.