This is part two of a series on Mike Veny. Read and watch part one here.
I stumbled upon Mike Veny’s website — transformingstigma.com — while doing research for a story on mental health, and I was instantly drawn to his positive message of hope and action: transforming stigma into strength.
In his work, Mike shares a vulnerable side of himself to further his mission: preventing the loss of life due to suicide. For the record, Mike wrestles with many mental health challenges, and talks openly about his daily struggles with anger, depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. However, those diagnoses do not define Mike Veny.
Mike Veny is a successful entrepreneur. Mike Veny is a caring man who is studying improv acting. And did I mention he’s a terrific drummer? I wanted to know more.
We met in a café nearby his home in Queens, NY. I was drawn to his warmth immediately.
Mike was excited when I introduced the idea of collaborating on a video project for OC87 Recovery Diaries together, and then we moved quickly into dreaming and scheming mode.
At first we were overwhelmed. There’s so much to explore. So much that needs to be said and shared. Mike was very interested in using video to explore the idea of manhood – defining what it meant to be a man living with mental health challenges.
We also spoke about the challenges maintaining good mental health while juggling the pressures of being an entrepreneur and public speaker. All good thoughts.
Finally, while we were talking about his depression, Mike hit upon an idea that seemed really interesting.
“I’d really love to interview my depression,” Mike said. And we were off.
Take a look and watch Mike Veny do the (near) impossible: interview his depression!
And please note the interview excerpt where Mike discusses the personal challenges of making this video — confronting (and inhabiting) his depression in a studio, with a crew watching. Not an easy task.