Today I found out that a schoolmate had lost his battle with depression. Five years younger than myself, I did not know him personally. The common bond. We both graduated from the same small rural school. Think Hoosiers but just a tad larger, total school population was around 500 for kindergarten through 12th grades. The small town vibe where everyone knew everyone and everyone tried to help everyone. He is the fourth beautiful person that I can remember in my time on earth to have lost their battle with mental illness.
When will the world realize that mental health matters?
More people have some type of mental illness than you may realize and yet governments keep cutting funding. In recent months tragedies occurred throughout the world from Nice, France to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Often with some type of mental illness being blamed.
**note – I suspect that both were essentially a suicide by cop. (Wikipedia definition of Suicide by cop is a suicide method in which a suicidal individual deliberately behaves in a threatening manner, with intent to provoke a lethal response from a law enforcement officer.)
Could these tragedies have been prevented?
Perhaps we don’t know but just think of the what ifs.
What if they had gotten help?
What if they were not afraid to ask for help?
What if they were not afraid of being labeled by others that do not understand?
What if they didn’t have to live with that negative stigma society has placed on those with mental illness?
What if someone just asked if they were ok and was there to listen?
How much longer are we as a human beings going to ignore the importance of mental health. It is time to break the stigma, there is nothing to be ashamed for having a mental illness. I am tired of mental illness claiming beautiful people who lost their personal battle. Do not let their deaths be in vain. It may not be possible to bring them back but it is possible to prevent a future tragedy. It’s time to start a conversation about the importance of mental health.