The year 2020 has been challenging for us all, and especially for those of us with various mental illnesses. Thank goodness, many people and organizations are coming together to open up conversations about mental health. Talking about it can help erase the stigma and pave the way for greater understanding, both medically and socially. Talking about it can help save lives.
One non-profit that I admire is the Born This Way Foundation. It was started by Lady Gaga and her mom, Cynthia Germanatta, in 2012. Its goal is to create a “kinder and braver world,” and it supports the “mental and emotional wellness of young people by putting their needs, ideas, and voices first.” This foundation offers a lot of great information and spearheads wonderful, meaningful projects. Recently, it launched a campaign called “Find Your Anchor: Please Stay,” including the #pleasestaypledge .
Another notable resource is Project Healthy Minds, a new (2020) non-profit. It is “focused on tackling one of the defining issues of our generation: the growing mental health crisis. Project Healthy Minds builds anti-stigma campaigns that change attitudes, technology that makes it easier and faster to discover help, and programs and partnerships that expand access to care.”
A third nonprofit that’s doing a stellar job helping people with mental health issues is AIM. “AIM is finding and funding the most promising youth mental health research in the world, while building a movement devoted to the mental health of children, teens, and young adults.”
In the spirit of opening up dialogue about mental health, and with the blessing of my son–who has anxiety, depression, and OCD tendencies–I wrote an essay that was published in the anthology LIFE INSIDE MY MIND. I’m delighted to learn that this book has become recommended, and sometimes required, reading for schools across the USA. Since then, I got to be a guest on the Writing Excuses podcast and a podcast recorded by students of Schools of the Sacred Heart. Click here to listen. (You’ll need to sign in to Google if you aren’t already.) It’s my wish that books and podcasts such as these help erase the stigma of mental illness.
If you are suffering with mental issues, there is HOPE. Please reach out to someone you love, someone you trust, an organization such as the three cited above, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline any time of any day: 1-800-273-8255.