So is it possible that simply making some sort of care easily accessible to more people, and looking out for each other, including in the workplace, helped lower the number of deaths by suicide? I’m willing to continue trying to do both of those things going forward to find out. It certainly seems like as good a place to start as any, and maybe lowering that number isn’t as complicated as we thought. It just takes the willingness to get these things done.
If you want to eat, eat. Your body needs food.
If you want to sleep, sleep. Your body needs sleep.
If you need to do something for your mental health? Do it, your mind needs care.
If you want to workout, workout. It’s good for you.
If you want to work hard on a project, work hard. The sense of accomplishment you get from hard work is great.
Do any of these things, it’s your choice. But don’t let your view of the things you need be altered by things you might want to do, and don’t let anyone else tell you how to earn those things. You don’t have to earn food and rest, they are a required part of being a human. You’re allowed to be human, no matter how hard you workout.
Yes, it’s May, and that means it’s Mental Health Month, one of the times of the calendar year where we try and share stories, resources, and the life the voices of those struggling with their own mental health.
I sat down this week to do an interview with Ron Rapaport, host of the It’s a Wrap podcast. You can take a listen to it here, and also check out some of the other inspiring guests Ron has been interviewing since starting his podcast! As always, if you are a podcast host and…
What I want to address, however, is how our society defines victim, and how it leaves far, far too many people behind. That article above is a great example. How many people, if asked about sex trafficking, picture little white girls or women abducted from Target? Probably a lot. For many, the only real information they’ve ever gotten about trafficking are warnings about Target or shopping mall parking lots from their Facebook friends. They don’t know how many teenage boys from broken homes, living in poverty, are pulled into being trafficked. How many gay youths, rejected by their families, fall victim to it. How many immigrant children here with no parental supervision, are sold off by the people who should be protecting them, into sexual slavery.
Those stories, even if they’re told, are not going to grab national headlines. They are not going to evoke world-wide outrage and sympathy. Those are things that happen to “other people”. We might even be tempted to start looking for reason why it’s their own fault, or at least the parents fault, right?
From a media perspective, we also have to keep this in mind. An abduction of a young white girl from her home, is a rare event. It’s actually newsworthy because it happens so rarely. When it happens, it’s shocking. A trans, minority, teen being coerced into selling themselves, with no one to turn to for protection, isn’t any of those things. A gay male teen being kicked out of their parents house and trying to make it through homelessness, is also not something that happens so rarely that there would be major news coverage of it. These things happen all of the time. So often, that they aren’t really news.
So, which group should we have support and services for? I’d like to vote for ALL OF THEM. But that will take educating people about the reality of who gets abused, who gets trafficked, and for us all to accept that it happens everywhere. Until we get there, and are willing to see all different types of people as victims, we will continue to fail one group or another. That’s not acceptable.
The people who helped me, and continue to help me, are the ones who will ask me questions and then just listen. They want to hear my story, even though they can’t fix it. They know that they can help by just giving me a space to tell my story, without worrying about the need to fight off their attempts at fixing something that may or may not be relevant at all to my situation. (i.e. I’m glad your cousin felt better after a walk in the forest, but that’s not what is happening here!)
So please, just listen. Make the space around you, even if it’s virtual, a safe space for your friends and loved ones to tell their stories. Find small ways to help, if you can, but also know that by just listening, just sitting with our stories, you are already helping so much.