This Teen's Inspiring Tweet About Her Dad's Mental Health Journey Is Going Viral

Earlier this week, Ellie Wilkie, a 19 year old from Edinburgh, Scotland, shared how proud she was of her dad Brian as he began a new job as a recovery support worker. It was an important moment for her dad, who struggled with his mental health and had attempted suicide earlier this year, and Ellie used the tweet to both highlight how far her father has come and also to call attention to the stigma surrounding mental health.
"I wanted to tell everyone who may also be suffering it's okay not to be okay, particularly because men are stereotypically supposed to be the strong ones. I wanted to share awareness and fight back against the 'just get over it' attitude," Ellie told the BBC. "Everyone has their dark days, but you are not alone."
Brian told BuzzFeed that he began experiencing depression after his older son died by suicide in 2014. "To have him taken away was hard. The moment my son passed away my life spiraled out of control," he said.
Brian continued to struggle with his mental health, which culminated in his suicide attempt in January 2017.
"It was the lowest place I’ve ever been in my life," he said. "There was nothing left for me."
The attempt was a wake-up call for Brian, who said he realized the next day that he needed to change his life, and he began to make efforts for recovery, while also calling on his family for support.
"I gave depression 100%, so I’ll give recovery 100%. I don’t feel sad any more. I feel happy now. I see life so differently," he said. "I’ve learned to be a father. I've learned how to live again."
While he's feeling better now, recovery was a process for Brian, as it is for many people who have mental illnesses. Brian began his journey by turning away from some of his old coping mechanisms, like drinking and gambling, he said. He leaned on his family, and especially Ellie, for support as he recovered.
Seeing her dad's progress inspired Ellie to share his story, in hopes that it would help others who are suffering.
"I shared the story of my dad because I couldn’t express how proud I was of him coming out the other side stronger than ever. I wanted to show everyone with support and love there is a light regardless how tough it may feel at the time," she said to BuzzFeed News.
Ellie's tweet has been retweeted almost 30,000 times and has more than 168,000 likes as of writing. The father-daughter pair were even invited onto popular UK show "This Morning," as a result of the tweet, but after traveling to London they were bumped from the show due to buzz surrounding the royal engagement.
Ellie used the canceled appearance as an opportunity to continue to remind her followers to #breakthestigma and to keep the conversation about mental health going.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
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