After losing her brother to suicide and living with her own mental health challenges, Candice has found a renewed sense of purpose and reason to care for her mental health: her daughter.

Candice is no stranger to the fear of stigma that surrounds mental illness. “A lot of the stigma was in my own mind,” she confesses. “I worried people were going to judge me or that people were going to think less of me—that I wasn’t competent.”

After opening up about her experiences, she came to realize that sharing her story made support and connection possible. “Once I actually started talking, I didn’t feel the stigma. I felt love and support and that people wanted to be there with you and alongside you in all that. It gives you this confidence around your mental health, knowing people are going to be there beside you.”

The companionship and accountability she experiences by participating in Ride Don’t Hide is what keeps her coming back. Now on her fifth year, she and her team “Markle Sparkle” continue to ride in memory of her brother, to end stigma and help others realize that asking for help is not only okay—it’s necessary.

For Candice, maintaining her own mental health is still a daily ordeal. But motherhood has become a profound source of inspiration.

“Becoming a mom has had a huge positive impact on my mental health,” she states. “Whereas I used to struggle with my mental health and not always feel that I had a purpose, now I have a driving force in my daughter. It’s become more clear to me that it’s important to keep my mental health in check.”

Watch the rest of Candice’s story below:

Video created by GenreShoots.

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