Not only has he struggled with depression, anxiety and other issues, but also the stigma associated with it.
Out of frustration, he authored the book “Transforming Stigma: How to Become a Mental Wellness Superhero.” He has become a mental health advocate, sharing his ideas at talks across the country.
“It was actually a lot of the work I did myself and shared with others,” Veny said. “It became the basis for my book.”
In 2011 after he had a breakdown, Veny went to the library and learned everything he could about mental health stigma.
He later coined the term “The Stigma Cycle,” which consists of shame, silence and sabotage. That is followed by social injustice, self-destructive behavior and even suicide.
“It’s a repeating cycle,” he said. “Until we put a dent in that cycle, we can’t really do anything.”
At his talks, Veny said the biggest reaction he gets from participants is that it’s “refreshing.” Although he’s not a mental health professional, Veny said he presents the issue in a simple way.
Many participants have told him that he’s inspired them to start talking about stigma.
“That has been very helpful to people,” he said.
Veny’s work is particularly important in 2020, a year that has been filled with crisis after crisis, from protests against police brutality to COVID-19.
“My work has been very helpful to people,” he said, “particularly to those who are looking for help in uncertainty.”
Veny said that those suffering from mental health challenges have tools at their disposal that won’t take away their stress and anxiety, but can make it more manageable.
“We’re going to get through this together somehow,” he said.