We don’t need another headline to tell us. We don’t have to wait for another hashtag or tragedy for this to be a priority. All we have to do is look around. Watch the face of your pastor and his wife and see the fatigue as they carry the burdens of many. Pay attention to the Facebook posts of your co-workers and friends and notice how much frustration and loneliness you see in a day. Listen to the weary tone in the voice of a mom in the grocery store, as she tries to wrangle her kids, and gather items to feed her family.
Stress is the most common and well researched agitator of mental strain. When you begin to combine the nature of our busy, and sometimes cruel world, to a person suffering significantly with an imbalance or disorder such as PTSD, Postpartum, Bipolar, Anxiety or Depression, we are likely to find ourselves turning on the news and hearing about things such as the recent tragedy in California.
To some it seems sudden, senseless and unexplainable. What is scary to me is that it is normally very explainable and not sudden at all. We usually hear of a history of issues with mental illness. Sometimes there are even plans left behind. Then the question comes … why didn’t someone do something? Followed by the question of … what should we do?
Mental illness and wellness must be prioritized long before the headline hits our screen and must remain in the forefront of our minds and political agendas long after the headline disappears. Just because months pass and names of victims are forgotten doesn’t mean the issue isn’t still there. For me as a person who lives as an advocate and as a person with a diagnosis, I cannot see a villain in these tragic events. I see both the sides as victims – one as a victim of being underserved and lacking resources for help in our country, and the other as groups of people lacking protection due to a lack of services or education of mental illness.
I encourage everyone not to wait until the next time. Become active now. Stay involved and educate yourself. Mental health matters and the sooner we make it a priority for all, the better off we will all be.
It is often said we just can’t afford to increase funding in the area of the mental health. In my mind, it clear that we simply can’t afford not to.
In the Baton Rouge area, Be Brave Inc. is a mental health awareness nonprofit serving women in the community. Resources for help and free wellness events are provided throughout the year by the organization. For more information visit their website HERE.