Photo by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash “Yes” “No” “Maybe” Three words that I am proud to have in the English dictionary. Three words that I am happy that I have the ability to use, being aware that there are many who are unable to use those words for a variety of reasons. When spending time with a mixed cultural couple, I was able to learn that the French do not have a good word for ‘may...
As we educate for Mental Health Month in May we continue to move our programs forward by helping families. I want to reflect on a personal note of 2012—of the death of my mother in January who suffered from a mental health illness from the time I was born. The catalyst of Step Up For Mental Health really—moving forward to the present is to help educate family by family— communities really—about mental health issues and how these disorders affect everyone around you.
Selecting the name Step Up For Mental Health was a conscious choice. Helping families think about what it really means to deal with an illness, not understood, or to care for someone, and not have a stigma around a disease equally devastating like cancer or chronic and long-term like Type 1 Diabetes. I thought it was fit, to use the term which affects so many families, communities, fast moving or not. It’s time we bring mental health out of the closet and out in the open like so many diseases in the past from cancer to HIV/AIDS that was a view to the masses, as something NOT to discuss in public. When “stepping up” works its way in media, news, culture, families, and community, we all are affected in small and large ways.
Using the tagline to “To educate, fight causes and change minds about mental health and its impact on families” is about taking everyday voices who have been changed in profound personal ways and sharing stories, good or uncommon and not shying away from a disease just like cancer. Where no fault of the person suffering, can change the outcome if not considered, cared for or given the right treatment. Just like cancer, whole families are rediscovering strength unmanageable before the truth was learned. You’ll hear from volunteers bloggers who have a background in mental health to personal experiences from family members, your community, or someone who took baby steps in managing their own illness. It’s all about community and it’s about time!
Understanding Mental Health as a Community
One of the reasons for Step Up For Mental Health is to keep it as a community. When people see themselves going through the same issues, they open up and share their experience. One voice can make all the difference in getting help, support or just a listening ear on how to deal with stress, anxiety, or to be a peer and sharing how you made it through everything!
We’ll also have leaders in the field of choice to weigh in on topics of the day, whether its news, culture, or community; we’ll try to be a balanced place that everyone can get something out of it. That’s what I always wanted growing up with a mother who suffered greatly, and my family we didn’t talk about it! I needed to talk about it! Mental health—it affects us all!
I hope you join us and stay with us as we grow into something bigger than ourselves and help the nation talk about mental health issues! And not just talk about it, but like cancer celebrate the discoveries along the way, or a family that might say fuck mental health, race with hands and fists in the air as they race for a cure, or to stop stigma, or just to join us in our mental health story.
If you have any questions, want to become a volunteer ambassador and lend a hand, please contact us. I want to connect with as many diverse people who care about mental health education as possible. Remember, let’s educate, fight causes for families and individuals and change minds far and wide about mental health and its impact. Are you ready to share your mental health story? Me too.