For as long as he can remember, mental health has been the major focus of Dr. Ali Mattu’s life. As a child, he suffered from anxiety so severe that he didn’t speak to anyone except at home.
“I was constantly so nervous,” says Dr. Mattu. His social anxiety was a major source of stress, and he was so quiet at school that some of his teachers weren’t even sure he spoke English. “It got so bad that I almost flunked out of school,” he says.
It wasn’t until he was a PhD student, researching mental health concerns himself, that he realized his condition had a name: selective mutism.
As a child, Dr. Mattu coped with his anxiety by spending as much time as possible with his big brother, who had a knack for making him feel at ease. That compassion inspired him to pursue a career in clinical psychology, so he could help others the way his brother had helped him.