New Series Tells Stories of Strength Amid Mental Health Struggles

universality of mental health issues explored in new wondrium series

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Mental health struggles are talked about now more than ever. Victims of abuse, for example, often suffer from psychological issues for years after being abused. Sugar Ray Leonard, Mary Lambert, and others told their stories to Wondrium.

Kate Fagan interviewing Jay Williams
Kate Fagan interviews Jay Williams in the Wondrium series Finding Strength in Mental Health Struggles. Photo by Wondrium

As the stigma surrounding psychotherapy and mental illness slowly fades, public conversations about struggling with mental health have been on the rise. Depression, anxiety, and suicide have become topics that more and more people are willing to discuss instead of shutting them away or bottling them up. When someone suffers from mental health struggles or mental illness, it can also help them to know that they’re not alone.

Even public figures have opened up about their struggles. In an exclusive interview, Wondrium writer/producer Brandon Hopkins spoke about Wondrium’s new series Finding Strength in Mental Health Struggles, which features candid interviews with guests like boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard and two-time, Grammy-nominated artist Mary Lambert.

Big Names Discussing Big Issues

“We tackle a lot of different angles on mental health in this series,” Hopkins said. “We have four very talented guests who, themselves, have had to deal with mental health struggles. We have [former Chicago Bulls player] Jay Williams, who sort of ended his own career in basketball by having a motorcycle accident that he blames himself for; so, he had to come back from that and forgive himself for that.”

Next up is NFL defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, who has played for the San Francisco 49ers, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the New York Jets. Thomas’s sister Ella died by suicide in 2018. In the years since, their family has created an organization to help raise money for suicide prevention. Thomas opened up about how he’s dealt with losing a loved one and how the audience can do the same.

“Our third guest is Mary Lambert, who just had a really, really difficult childhood with sexual abuse, and later drug abuse, and bipolar disorder—a lot of different challenges—and how she’s used creativity as a way to get through it,” Hopkins said. “She’s a singer, songwriter, and poet.”

The final guest is legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. As a young boxer, Leonard was the victim of sexual abuse. He spoke with Wondrium about how being an abuse victim led him to substance abuse issues at the height of his career and how he came back from it.

Opening Up

Dr. Lisa Damour, clinical psychologist, is also featured in the series; she discusses mental health issues and gives advice and insight into their causes and solutions. According to Hopkins, the series shows how you can’t be alone with your mental health struggles.

“You have to talk about them and communicate about them in order to deal with it,” he said. “How does [someone] pick up the pieces?”

Jay Williams told Wondrium that you get new pieces. You don’t even pick up the pieces of what you had; you just get new pieces.

According to Hopkins, all the guests featured in Finding Strength in Mental Health Struggles exemplify the role that competition plays in mental health struggles, as well as the pressure not to talk about one’s problems—and the ways that someone can overcome those hurdles.

Finding Strength in Mental Health Struggles is now available to stream on Wondrium.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily