We Can Talk About Being Brave By Going Public and Also How Resources Aren’t Available for Everyone
Recently, Senotor John Fetterman from Pennsylvania announced that he would be stepping away for a week or so to be treated for Depression.
Many people called him brave for talking about mental health. Others, sadly, proved that there is still a strong stigma around mental health by suggesting that he is too unstable to serve and should resign. (Personal note – this was mostly a self-serving political move by encouraging more stigma about mental health, and regardless of your political leanings, it should be off-limits.)
I think this article gets the balance I considered as I heard the news about right.
I think this is true:
“Asking for help is important, but it’s not always easy,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a statement on Twitter. “I hope Senator Fetterman’s courage will serve as an example for others.”
I also think the answer to this question is obvious too:
Do everyday Americans have the ability, legally and practically, to take a weekslong pause from their work to seek care during a mental health crisis?
As the article discusses, overwhelmingly, Americans do not have that. You can read the details for yourself but paid time off is entirely unavailable to many people in this country, mental health care is inaccessible, and there are millions upon millions of people in the US who don’t even qualify for unpaid leave under FMLA because of all the loopholes.
So yes, bravo to Senator Fetterman for seeking help, sharing his struggle publicly and even raising awareness and money for mental health resources.
Let’s also talk about how many people don’t have that option and do something about that too.