I wonder, why are you such a giver right now? Where is all that coming from?
Because I was a taker in the early part of my life. So I’m giving back what life’s given me.
I do a lot of public speaking to the US military and other organizations. One of the things that people kept coming to me to talk about was how to handle depression, anxiety, stress. It’s become such a common thing, but it’s become a stigma as well.
I set up this foundation called HEAL. Heal actually stands for Helping Everyone Achieve Life. Simply because a lot of the people I mentor, the young people, the amount of mental and emotional challenges they face is extremely frightening.
And these are young people who have everything going for them. They come from good families. They’d been to private schools. They’re well-traveled but something in their life is not fitting right. It’s almost like a stigma for them to go and be able to talk about it with their friends or with their relatives and things like that. When one person in a family is depressed, it is sometimes quite common for the whole family to get depressed, because they’re all worried about this one person and so as a result, the problem is, unless you’ve been depressed, you’re not able to understand what depression is like because it affects you mentally. It affects you emotionally. It affects you physically.
I always say the best liars are the ones who are depressed because every time you ask them “how are you?” They say “I’m fine”. And the best conversations happen when one depressed person speaks to another depressed person because only both of them understand what the other’s going through.
Why is it that you chose to help these people? Especially the younger ones who are struggling with this? Why the younger ones who are struggling with depression and anxiety and stress, when you could have paid it forward some other way. I mean, it is a difficult thing.
It is a difficult thing. Coming from the business world. If each of these scenarios were a business, if I had to choose where I would want to help, I feel things like cancer, diseases, are already well-funded and well researched all around the world. I want to help where I feel I have made a little bit of a difference. And I can only do that where there are scenarios that are either not well funded or well resourced if you know what I mean.
Mental and emotional challenges, we’re just getting to explore this scenario all around the world. It’s still regarded as taboo. I don’t know what it’s like in the Philippines, but, even in the US, it’s still taking time for people to acknowledge that this is a symptom. It’s a symptom that’s spreading like wildfire. The US military has a very high suicidal rate. That’s not a topic that’s mentioned very often in the media, almost 11 out of 100 people suffer from depression.
Now in a first world country, over 10%, one in 10. That’s a huge number. And we’re talking about people who are depressed when you look at them when you see that background, you suddenly feel like, what are you depressed about? You come from a good family, you have dad’s credit card. You have a car, you have a home, you go to private school, what could you possibly be depressed about?
And what’s usually the answer?
They don’t know.
So on one hand, you’re given everything you want. And then when you realize that you have to work so many years to actually get the same thing, You almost feel like you backtracked. Because seven, eight years later, you’re still getting the same thing that you got seven, eight years before.
And also maybe that they have been given so much that they don’t feel they have the need or the desire to go out and achieve something because they have to work twice as hard to get to the same level that they left their parents’ home at.