Stigma in STEM : The Story of Lennis Perez

May 12, 2023by Carissa Harrison in Workplace Wellbeing

Sometimes the largest barrier to creating a healthier lifestyle is our environment.

The story of Lennis Perez highlights how this reigns true when it comes to the workplace.

Lennis started struggling with anxiety after migrating to the U.S. from Venezuela, but it wasn't until her early 20's and 30's when she started a career in STEM that her mental health really started to decline,

Lennis felt an extreme lack of support and awareness around mental illness in the STEM industry. She found many people in the field, including employers and workers, didn't fully understand the complexities of mental illness and the impact it can have on someone's life. As a result, Lennis became depressed from feeling isolated and unsupported in the workplace and overall environment.

Beyond the toxic mindset that shows up through unrealistic expectations and the constant need for professionals, especially women, to prove themselves, the STEM industry lacked sufficient support systems to help people with mental illness. She found there were very few resources available to help her cope with stress, anxiety, or depression, and few policies in place to accommodate people's mental health needs. Without sufficient resources, Lennis began experiencing intense burnout and resentment toward the industry.

Another major issue in the STEM industry is the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Unfortunately, there is still a significant amount of shame and misunderstanding around mental illness, and people with mental health conditions may face discrimination, judgment, and even harassment in the workplace. Not only did Lennis realize she was neglecting her own mental health due to her environment, she realized she was contributing to a culture of silence and secrecy around mental health.

Lennis' experiences sparked a desire to help those suffering from mental illness in the STEM industry. After investing over a decade in her own personal recovery and training in various mindfulness practices, Lennis now holds workshops and programs that help professionals in STEM go from living in the never-ending cycle of exhaustion to creating consistent mindfulness habits. She teaches individuals to be more wellness-minded while remaining efficient, so they can have more joy, freedom, and fulfillment in their daily lives.

By helping others in their mental health journey, Lennis has found her own peace of mind. She has released feelings of shame and found a set of tools that allow her to manage feelings of anxiety and depression when they do arise. Today Lennis is a happy, healthy person, with a new-found passion for life.
To learn more about the recovery journey of Lennis, join us on May 10th for 'Living your truth' - a Lived-experience webinar.


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