"Mental health treatment offers an opportunity to become your best self", says LGBTQ+ and HIV activist Gerald Garth. He had to get over stigma around such treatment, he says, the feeling that seeking it means something is wrong with a person.
Having therapy for depression was “an opportunity to align [myself] with support and resources that empower [me] to be [my] best self,” he says in a new video for The Advocate’s Love, Me series.Garth grew up in Louisiana in a deeply religious family and felt like he didn’t fit in. “I remember really having these heavy feelings of loneliness and isolation and almost helplessness at times,” he recalls.
He moved to Los Angeles to be an actor and also worked in accounting for a time. He is now director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
He previously spent several years with the AMAAD Institute (Arming Minorities Against Addiction and Disease), which provides programs and services to LGBTQ+ communities of color in South Los Angeles with a focus on HIV prevention and treatment, reentry, and recovery support.“I consider it such a gift to work with LGBTQ+ youth and young adults and young people,” he continues. “I am really grateful that I am able to bring my own experiences and personal journey into the work — of course, as is appropriate — because so much of what young queer folk are seeing, especially from my experience, is that heightened isolation.