It’s safe to say that people who have a mental illness have to put up with a lot more than just their diagnosis.
Before Becca Calla was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Pervasive Mental Disorder, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and Tourette’s Syndrome (which is a neurological disorder) at age 16, she faced a constant onslaught of staring, teasing and verbal abuse. As if that wasn’t hard enough for a young girl, she also had to manage moving from shelter to shelter — and even faced homelessness at one point.
However, since her official diagnoses, she’s been able to receive the help and treatment that she needs. As you can see in her video submission below for Change the View 2014 (a contest that invites Ontario youth to submit short videos that help normalize mental health issues), not only does she cope with her disorders, the happy-go-lucky teen completely owns them.
MORE: Once the Target of Bullies, This Teen With Tourettes Is Making Sure No Other Kid Suffers
“I’ve been playing violin for 10 years. There are so many things I never thought I’d be able to play that I can now play in my sleep,” Becca says as she seriously shreds her violin. “Now, I know how to release my energy in a healthy way instead of getting angry all the time.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental disorders — ranging from mood to eating disorders — are extremely common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older (one in four) and just over 20 percent (or one in five) children suffer from a seriously debilitating mental disorder — whether currently or at some point during their life.
Despite mental illness afflicting such a large segment of the population, broader society doesn’t always accept these individuals, who are often plagued by stigma as well as discrimination.
But treatment, awareness, and education can make a big difference. As Becca says, “Ask anyone that knows me now. I’m the happiest girl because I know I’m getting the right support and help I need.”