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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

World Mental Health Awareness Day & one hell of a week....

Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day. In today's society every "thing" has a day. From Alien Day to Zip Code Day, were a culture who recognizes everything and everyone.

I appreciate aliens and zip codes as much as the next person however, has our inundation in recognizing everything made us numb. Why do we need specific days to show extra appreciation or bring awareness?

In the United States 1 in 5 adults have a mental illness. That statistic doesn't break down severity or the many different conditions that are part of mental illness. One in five; that is the same statistic for the number of folks who have smart watches in America. Imagine if we wore some of visible marking that shared our mental health. How many of us would be rocking apple watches and mental illness? I would be. I also have a tattoo on my left wrist symbolizing my struggles; trend setter.

In an essay penned for #timemagazine, actress #kristenbell, a fierce advocate for #mentalhealthawareness shared the following, "There is such an extreme stigma about mental health issues, and I can’t make heads or tails of why it exists. Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements. Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain. In fact, there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with it since nearly 20 percent of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime. So why aren’t we talking about it?”

Mental health means different things to different people. Are you a mental health professional? Do you have personal struggles? Friend, colleague, or family member of someone who struggles? Does your child have struggles? Mental health impacts us all.

This week was a tough week in my household, for all of us. My (our) son is autistic with severe fine and gross motor delay, anxiety, and mild cognitive impairment including severe deficit in emotional regulation. His lack of emotional regulation presents in severe anger and aggression. The past couple of weeks we have been dealing with increased aggression and physicality. Both my husband and I are covered in bruises and bite marks, black eyes and burst blood vessels. Fight club. This week we had to make the heartbreaking decision to take our guy to the ED. Taking a child to the ED for behavioral needs is a whole other experience. While we don't live in Mayberry, we are far from identifying with a large urban setting. Resources for pediatric psych are minimal. There are no resources for crisis or inpatient care. While we are fortunate to have a wonderful team of outpatient providers sometimes we face a crisis. We needed help. Our son needed help. Wednesday was one of the toughest days we have faced as parents. Events that will never be unseen or forgotten. Our experience rocked us to our core. We were failed by health care that day. Our son was failed. Situations that we are privately addressing. Situations that we will fight to keep from happening to another person, family, or child. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, "what appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune." 

Mental health services in this country are severely lacking. A statement that likely every single person who reads this blog is fully aware of. This is not the time or place for a review of the US Healthcare System and its room for growth. I wouldn't want to show up our current presidential nominees. Anyway, in all seriousness, mental health has almost become an illness that we are expected to fix ourselves. If you are part of the club that struggles with mental illness we have likely tried all the things to "fix" ourselves. Diet, exercise, therapy, medication, art, writing, music, running, positivity, meditation, reading, yoga, "me" time....We all know the list. Its not rocket science. While the aforementioned menu of activities is absolutely necessary, it isn't that easy.

My mental health has its ups and downs. I am diagnosed with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation. I have not always had this diagnosis. On October 15th it will be one year since I formally received that diagnosis. On Wednesday, my son was in a room four doors down from where I was last year. Talk about PTSD. His pathway and my pathway to mental illness are night and day. We knew before Corbin reached the age of two that he was going to grow up with challenges. As he has aged his challenges have evolved. My pathway to mental illness was situational. Almost harder than my sons. He has never known any different. I went 34 years. That is the thing with mental illness, cancer, heart disease, or a myriad of other ailments something triggers them and suddenly your life is changed forever.

Cancer and heart disease are not met with stigmas. February lights up red for heart disease and October pink for breast cancer. I even have a hot pink #baltimoreravens hat for breast cancer. Events that are highly publicized; encouraging action, raising awareness and fundraising. Does mental health just need a better publicist?

Unfortunately we only seem to hear about mental health when something negative happens. A celebrity suicide or sensationalized admission to rehab; #skipbayless and his ignorant comments. Why can't we hear more about Bonnie Kuhl #archerandolive founder ; her struggles with mental health lead to the start of her business. You should check them out; (not paid / just a fan). Or companies such as Plenty World ; they support several cause and their products are designed to raise awareness. From autism, suicide, mental health, breast cancer etc... (not paid).

When i originally started my blog I promised for this to never read like a #cosmo how to...however, outlined below are my favorite ways to support and raise awareness for mental health.

  1. Talk - ask people how they are, actively listen, DONT JUDGE.

  2. Share your experience

  3. Learn about mental illness, you know what they say about assumptions...

  4. Use kind and supportive language

  5. Practice forgiveness

  6. Be present


The only way mental health resources will change is by everyone coming together. We each can take a step to help support the great cause. End the stigma. Today on World Mental Health Awareness Day, I ask you to think how you will make a difference.

"You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." - Martin Luther King, Jr
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1 Comment

Oct 11, 2020

Hang in there Amy! The behaviors that Corbin has is a copy of Tiffany’s behaviors; it does get better but takes a lot of time, struggle and patience. Just this year, she started Abilify and it has made a world of difference for the better. I love you guys and girls and keep praying for you💕

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