Salty Woman: Meghan Yuri Young
Founder of The Sad Collective and recently a media personality for Breakfast TV, Meghan Yuri Young shares how she spends her days advocating for mental health awareness.
Getting in touch with Meghan was a long shot. I don't know her and I don't know anyone that knows her. But I know what she fights for and I figured I'd reach out because what's there to lose? We hear the word "no" literally every day (or at least I do in my line of work lol) but she said "yes" and here we are.
I met Meghan Yuri Young at a small cafe in Yorkville and she greeted me with a massive hug. Excited to get to know me and what I do she instantly went into reverse interview mode and put me on the spot. I knew right then that I was among another sister.
Suffering from depression fuelled by a misunderstood relationship-turned-divorce, Meghan started The Sad Collective originally just to give her and her friends a space to talk about hard things. She tells me what she experienced in that situation was just a glimpse into what some people deal with their entire lives and there needs to be a change with how people talk about this subject and act around others that live with it.
Although she's been blessed to be able to reach people and develop a community through social media, she recognizes that there's still a lot of work to be done. The conversation is happening, community is being built. But how do we make it bigger and how do we educate others?
"What happens is these movements are going so quickly and we’re moving on to the next when we haven’t really dug deep yet with what's been dealt with and people expect everything to be ok already."
She recognizes that lately there's been an encouragement for people to speak out and share their stories and is glad to see this happening on an individual level, but she's shifting her energy to focus specifically on practicing empathy.
After four years in the mental health space, Meghan admits that she doesn't know everything, nor does she try to say she does. And that's the first step in the game of empathy. To stop thinking you know, admit that you don't know, and to listen and learn to know and understand what someone is going through.
I can tell Meghan never wants to be caught in a position where she doesn't know what she's talking about. She even did a bit of digging on me before we met so she'd be prepared to speak with me. She tells me she's been lucky to have been surrounded by loved ones to give her the confidence to listen to her gut and act on it.
"I grew up knowing my parents were flawed and I think I knew from a very young age that everything was bullshit. Adults don't know what they're doing."
Speaking of bullshit, Meghan tells me her latest frustration is about this "call out" culture where people are being shamed for believing what they believe in and speaking out about it. Everyone's entitled to hold their own opinions and value different things, no one deserves to feel ashamed about it, or feel like their values are less important than another's.
Beyond the aspect of it always resulting in defensiveness or aggressiveness, she suggests we start to embody a "call in" culture where we have an open conversation about where everyone stands. Empathy and listening is the first step to learning and growth.
I'm definitely guilty of needing to have "the last word" in so many conversations and every time I did I never felt like a winner. Neither did staying silent. But whenever I approached a conversation with complete vulnerability, expressing how someone's words or behaviour made me feel shitty, the entire tone of the conversation would change and we would all come out in a better place.
I'm so excited to have Meghan join us on May 14th for our next Salty Woman series, The Beauty of Balance. Get your ticket now!