Breaking Free of the Labels of Mental Illness

Breaking free of the labels of mental illness with Leah Harris

In this episode of The Grass Gets Greener podcast, I'm joined by Leah Harris of Leah joins me to share her story of how she's been able to reclaim her dignity after being treated poorly by the mental health system during her traumatic childhood.

Click the play button below to check it out! 

The Details

Traumatic experience:

Leah was part of a cycle of intergenerational trauma where both of her parents suffered from mental illness. She had a very chaotic first five years of her life. Her dad wasn't able to be around much and her mom suffered from schizophrenia. As a result, Leah was removed from her mom's custody at the age of five. Leah experienced some bullying in school and was witness to violence in a mental health facility she was placed in. She was also defined by her mental illness labels.

Effects of the traumatic experience:

Leah felt different when growing up because of her situation. She struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. She also dealt with a lot of shame and tried to keep her past a secret. She was also afraid to become a parent because of everything she experienced as a child.

Overcoming the traumatic experience:

Reaching out for help has played a big role in Leah's recovery. She was able to benefit from peer support and the help of a teacher and guidance counselor. Finding her tribe and becoming an activist has also helped Leah in her healing journey. In addition to these things, creative expression, better understanding trauma, EMDR, mindfulness meditation and yoga have also helped her.

What Leah does today:

Leah is a trainer and consultant with the National Center for Trauma Informed Care as well as an activist with the Trauma Informed D.C. Initiative.

Final Question:

Given what you know now, if you could go back to when you were going through the tough times and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leah's Answer: Trauma is not a destiny and a diagnosis is not a destiny and it is possible to heal and recover.

Links Mentioned - Leah's website

Twitter - Leah's Twitter profile

Facebook - The Facebook page for the Trauma Informed D.C. Initiative

Listening to Prozac - The book Leah was recommend to read about going back on anti-depressants

Talking Back to Prozac - The book Leah read instead

Bullying Survivors Virtual Summit - Where you can sign up for the summit I'll be hosting later this month for survivors of childhood bullying

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

How You Can Help

Want to support this show? You're awesome! I would really appreciate it. There are three things you can do that won't take up much of your time but will go a long way.

  1. Subscribe
  2. Leave a 5-star rating if you think this show deserves it
  3. Write an honest review for others to see why they should tune in

That's all! You can do each of these things here on iTunes or here on Stitcher.

If you'd like to leave a comment below about Leah's's story, I would be happy to hear from you!
A note about comments: Given the nature of this site, anyone being disrespectful to anyone else will have their comment removed.


  1. Beverly berzins says:

    Thankyou for this interview with Leah Harris, I have been through this myself being labeled from 12 yrs old with depression on various meds. That was until I worked out I was suffering from early traumas and found my own holistic path, painful but at least hopeful.

    • Hi Beverly, thank you for the comment. I’m glad this episode resonated with you. I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve been through but I’m glad that you’re feeling more hopeful lately. Hang in there!

Speak Your Mind