Local teen fights mental health stigma with recovery video

JUNE 19, 2013


 - Pemberton's Dawn Archer shares her story of depression and recovery in a still image from her YouTube video. - Screen captureDawn Archer doesn’t want anyone else to suffer mental illness in isolation. The 16-year-old Pemberton high school student has taken her message online, with a five-minute video on YouTube detailing her own battle — and recovery — from depression and anxiety.
“Within an hour of My Recovery Story being put up I had tons of messages coming in,” said Archer. “I had three people message saying ‘I had no idea other people felt like this, I thought I was alone.’”
The video format is a familiar one, most notably used by Amanda Todd, a teen who committed suicide last year after prolonged Internet harassment. As of Wednesday (June 19), Archer’s video was nearing 2,000 views and gaining exposure as B.C. media took interest.
Holding up a series of handwritten messages, Archer starts the video with: “For a very long time, I’ve felt sad, alone, stupid, different, upset — buy why?”
It’s a question this young woman has asked herself many times over the past decade.
“I can remember specific memories when I was a kid that I’d be upset for no reason, feeling very different from my friends … I think I’ve been suffering from depression since my parents divorced when I was five,” she said.
The depression that has dogged her since she was a young child intensified last summer in the midst of a deteriorating relationship with her then-boyfriend. The feelings lasted long after the break-up, with self-cutting the primary outlet for expressing her pain. By February of this year, she realized she needed help and sought it from her high school counsellor.

“Until then, I had never thought about the fact I might have depression, I just thought that was just how people felt sometimes.” To read more, click here.