Monday, January 23, 2017

Mental health - bring it out of the darkness

December 2014, I wrote about depression. Not easy to write, maybe not easy to read. It's not that I want to talk about my inner life with this blog; I truly believe that in order for there to be conversations about mental illness someone has to start one and then keep feeding it. It's like violence against women - saving one day a year to speak out is as important as using all possible seconds to speed the echos and new voices onward.

January 25 is the day we're supposed to hold a conversation on mental illness. I bet that, for many folks, participating in one would be okay but starting one is what holds us back. Yet the research all shows that talking about things helps erase stigmas and produces new ideas.

My personal story aside, here's what I believe everyone can do this Wednesday.

  • Call a friend and say "I just wanted to remind you that I support you and accept you"
  • Hug someone and say "Sharing germs to keep immunity from happiness from spreading"
  • Send a meal to someone who has been valiantly keeping their head about water
  • Let someone cry without trying to fix it or shame them for showing emotion
  • Admit you don't know what to do or say if someone you care for is having difficulties - then ask them if any of the above would help

Part of the issue is in our genes, part in our environment, part in our choices. All the solutions are are possible if we respect and support each other as a community.

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