There is a lot to love about Melissa’s story. Her encouragement to take care of yourself, to recognize when the stress is too much, and when you need to stop. But this is one of the things about her story that frustrates me as an advocate:
“What this means: if you are an employer, or an employee who can raise your voice, please take a few moments to think about how your workplace supports mental health. Are managers informed? Are there safe avenues for help? “
You see, while I am thrilled that she was able to recognize her depression, and take a few weeks to take care of herself, to get off of a path that was going to lead her to harm, I’m also frustrated at how many other people don’t have that option. She had a supportive workplace and editors at the Winnipeg Free Press who allowed her to take a four week leave and come back in a better place mentally.
How many of us can say the same about our employers? And, without that employment, how many of us would have the insurance coverage to pay for the therapy sessions during that time away?
Melissa is lucky to have that. I was lucky to have insurance coverage and a supportive manager for some of my recovery. (Not all, but some, and a heck of a lot more than many others.)
How many people don’t get help and fall through the cracks, not because they don’t want help, but because they can’t afford it, or their workplace is not at all supportive of things like time off, or flexible scheduling to allow for ongoing appointments?
I’ll answer that for you, far too many. We need to be better than that. Until we are better than that, we’re going to keep on letting those people fall through the cracks. That’s not good enough.