Shannon O’Brien

Shannon advocates for mental health awareness not only through her words - she lives it. She is a behavioral health case manager at One Community Health. Shannon was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety when she was in 2nd grade, and has known for most of her life that she had a mental health concern. “I grew up with it from a very young age,” she recalls, “of this narrative of thinking that something was wrong with me, rather than it was just who I was. As I grew older it was more restructuring that narrative to not think that it was a problem, that it was something that could help me. That I could help other people.”

When I was diagnosed, no one really understood how to talk about it.

Shannon feels as though she’s come full circle as a counselor who has a personal journey with mental illness, both for herself and in her family. It’s her way of giving back. Shannon stresses the importance of self-care, especially as a medical health professional who is dedicated to helping others. “If you’re not taking care of yourself,” she points out, “Then you can’t continue to show up for your clients.” She practices yoga, an outlet that helps her relax and maintain her own mental health. Having a community and being able to share her experience with others who have a similar narrative has also helped her in her healing process.

“I know that it’s very vulnerable to talk about these things,” Shannon acknowledges. “I want to make people feel that they’re not alone and I also want them to know the humanness of the people that they’re working with. And the reason behind why people want to show up for them.”

Let’s Talk. Let’s Listen. Let’s Cultivate Compassion.

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Emily is a journalist and her favorite book is Treasure Island. She has been struggling with depression and anxiety for most of her life.