This week, Kate Spade committed suicide. Then Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.
I cannot think straight. It’s hard to get on with my day.
My feeds are clogged with suicide prevention messages, pleading with people to get help.
We ask people to get help. But sometimes getting help is just one more overwhelming thing to do for someone.
Try going through insurance, going through providers, seeing an oncologist who barely looks at you, employers hassling you because you have health issues, asking intrusive questions about what you can do. No vacation time.
Following the horrible news about how children, the vulnerable, migrants, women, trans people, minorities, are treated by the powerful, by the state, by the police, by the excessively wealthy. How health provision is shrinking.—- These are all daily attacks on mental health.
Then there is the culture of rugged individualism that pervades our lives. But we say “get help.” Even though getting help means showing vulnerability, and possibly losing opportunities.
People who need or ask for help are stigmatized, called names, discriminated against in employment and relationships. People avoid going to mental health professionals because they are terrified of the stigma. How can people ask for help when this so often becomes another mark against them?
So: make it better. Don’t put it all on the struggling people. Don’t individualize and personalize this stuff.
It’s not just about a person making a call, or a person calling a friend. It’s systemic. We need bigger change, more help.
But DO call up that friend. DO call up the lifeline. Because we’ve got to hold each other against the power. Our solidarity is resistance.
But on the other front, we must fight to change the world where we are hanging on to each other on broken dinghies in the flood.
Instead of only telling people to get help, we’ve got to make it better.