according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness,
43.8 million adults in the United States experience a mental illness.
approximately 20% of our kids 13-18 live with one as well.
this means one in every five humans you meet have or will experience mental illness.
1 in 25, or 10 million Americans, live with a serious mental illness.
suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America.
suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for kids age 10-14.
suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.
i want to reiterate this one more time:
the second leading cause of death in our upcoming generation is suicide.
we have to talk about this.
these numbers are scary.
these numbers make us sad.
they seem too big to conquer.
this subject is personal and hard.
i know because i live with one of the serious mental illnesses.
our brains make us feel like outsiders.
like no one could possibly understand.
and our society tells us to be ashamed.
this stigma is killing us.
these numbers and statistics represent human beings.
people who deserve to know they are loved.
real humans who have beating hearts and brilliant minds.
people who are capable of more than what the world is telling them.
because so many of us believe that help makes us weak,
that if we admit this we are crazy,
no one could love anyone on anti-psychotics,
that everyone will look at us differently.
we refuse help.
and this has got to end.
suicide is preventable.
help is out there.
it can start with being a safe place.
we start by listening.
and when we see the fear in the eyes of someone opening up,
we take their hand and tell them we love them.
not because of, not in spite of their suffering,
but because of who they are.
and who they are is not defined by their mental illness.
they are so much greater than that.
and sometimes we have to say that professionals need to get involved.
not because our loved one is a burden,
but because we want them around for a long time, we want them to get treated.
and while the road is scary, we will be there for it all.
if we want to beat this, we have to show up for one another.
it is hard. it is not for the weak of heart.
but it is possible.
we will have to carry hope for one another.
because we all need to be reminded that hope exists.
that darkness doesn’t have to win.
we are worthy of treatment. of love.
mental health is important.
break the stigma around it.
be a reminder of hope.
be a part of the healing.
of the recovery.
my story is one among millions.
and each one of our stories matter.
your story matters. your life matters.
we each hope to be heard.
to be seen.
to be loved for who we are.
to be accepted.
let’s not let these numbers win.
let’s be a part of a revolution that starts with listening.
that walks a tough road with even tougher hearts.
hearts that deserve to be around a long time.
if you don’t feel like you have a safe space, i remind you:
you are welcome here.
come as you are.
you are loved here.