Mental Health Awareness. It’s important to you.

Mental Health Awareness and Its Importance in Your Life

This blog isn’t a feel-good, a “how to” for better business practices or random ramblings.  This one is about a critical issue in our world that robs so many of us of friends, families, love, hopes and dreams.

Much is said about mental health in post-crisis situations.   Whether it’s trying to make sense of an act of terrorism, someone taking their own life or yet another act of senseless violence, those of us left behind do our best to cope.

We discuss what may have been going through the hearts and minds of those involved.  But in the end, none of us, not even mental health professionals, know what took these people to their respective points of no return.

It’s clear to most that those who inflict terror, pain and death upon others are riddled with internal conflicts and demons.  This is a major part of the ongoing debate over mass killings and gun control.  At the risk of creating yet another such debate, I will just state that my personal belief is that very few people are “born evil”.  I believe that it is a state of mind that builds through life’s experiences. I also don’t believe that the color of a weapon matters.  People who want to take another’s life will do so regardless of the tool.

This is but one of the facets of how mental health impacts our lives.  Important, no question, but how many people suffer through other levels of mental and emotional illness that no one is aware of until we lose one of them?

Write this number down now.  (800) 273-8255.  That is the number of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.   (800) 273-TALK.

President Trump is calling for more action about mental health issues. Congress is looking into a bill creating a simple 3-digit mental health and suicide hotline. In a time of despair, the act of dialing 3 numbers is a lot simpler and more intuitive than remembering (800) 273-8255.  And while “TALK” is a good way to remember it, this becomes an unnecessary struggle to someone in immediate need of help.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. 

There is a free 24/7 support TEXT line for people in need.  The Crisis Text Line number is 741741.  Take a minute now and add it to your Contacts in your phone.  Make sure your kids know about it.  Have them create a Contact.  Mention it in your social media postings.

Two million people called the crisis line in 2017.  According to CNN that is up from 1.5 million in 2016 and in January of 2018, the year to year total for the month was up 60 PERCENT! 

As I said, this isn’t a feel good or a business tips blog.  It’s a “be aware and help your fellow human being” blog.

I am a fan, participant and member of a large brother/sisterhood of auto enthusiasts.  We lost one of our own this week and the outpouring of love, pain and confusion regarding this man’s taking of his own life is sobering.

“D” was loved and respected by many.  He was a racer, a custom calibrator, a bona-fide gearhead and a friend to just about everyone.  I didn’t know him personally, but his touch is forever imprinted on so many lives.

Facebook is electric with notes of “but I just texted him yesterday”, “we were just laughing about……”.  With so many friends and so much going on in his life, what could have made him choose a permanent answer to what was likely a short-term problem?  That is the issue.  No one will likely ever know.  The questions will remain and haunt those that loved him.  The reactions from friends are normal; they’re pissed off, they’re hurt and confused.  What a selfish act, right?

It certainly seems that way to those of us that he left behind, but this is where greater knowledge for all of us can come into play.    Read, listen, learn.  Use this loss as a catalyst to dive into the processes and become more a part of the lives of the ones we love.  There are too many disruptive forces (read: Internet and smartphones, in particular) that keep us from being truly present in our own lives and in those of whom we love.

I personally lost a son-in-law to suicide.  He had lost a job and had spent months lying to his family about “going to work” every day.  As the lies became thicker and the money became thinner, he was about to be “outed”.  He had been prescribed meds by a “family friend” physician for years without having any updated evaluations.  SOMEONE knew he hadn’t been going to work.  SOMEONE knew he was in trouble.  Yet, NO ONE said anything to his wife who was left behind with a new baby girl.

Someone in your life could be having issues that they are afraid of or too embarrassed to share.  This doesn’t mean that we all need to be on constant alert for signs of something wrong.  What is means is that this is a reminder that we all need to spend some time away from the distractions and pay attention to things that matter.  Learning about mental health.  Knowing the signs of pending trouble.  Reaching out.  Being in the moment so when someone does look for a lifeline that you’re able to recognize it.

This is for “D”.  I didn’t know you personally.  But I know the difference you made in the lives of so many.  Sadly, you didn’t know just how important you really were.  So, I honor your life by writing this blog today.  And if just one person reads it and decides to be more present in life, then you’ve touched another soul.

God Speed.

Please keep these links available for someone in your life:

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/suicidal-behavior

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs

https://afsp.org/