WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — As a society, we are conditioned to take care of ourselves, working out our bodies and eating healthy. However…

“We often forget about taking care of our minds,” said Ryan Cook, of Waterbury.

Inspired by his own mental health struggles, he has decided to help others.

“It is my hope to show others that they have the power inside of themselves to do amazing wonders…to know they aren’t alone.”

In 2017, he founded The Hope Corner, a volunteer-based mental health advocacy organization that works to fight the stigma of mental health.

“We aren’t crazy or weak. We can’t just snap out of it; we have an illness.”

His efforts ramped up during the pandemic when he started offering virtual support groups to frontline workers so they could “find ways to express what they see and feel every day.”

Cook believes that hope is the light that shines through the darkness, adding that it’s his mission to “find ways to replace the darkness with light.”

To those who are struggling. His message is clear: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“A mental health illness doesn’t define who you are,” he boasted.

Cook also encourages people to take time for themselves as often as possible.

If you are looking for help Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services also has an action line. You can call 1 (800) HOPE-153 or 211.