There’s Been Another Mass Shooting. Don’t Just Talk About Mental Health – DO SOMETHING [OPINION]
It's Mental Illness Awareness Week. And yes, I'm gonna preach. Because I'm doing something about it. Are you?
Here we go - the narrative will begin again, and end as soon as the victims are buried. We emceed the NAMI "Changing the Face of Mental Illness" masquerade gala last Thursday night, and mass shootings were brought up several times. Why? Because it's the only time we ever talk about mental health as a country.
Enough already. Stop talking and DO SOMETHING.
Watch this. I want you to be as uncomfortable as I was. I want you to cry - I cried this morning. A lot.
I'm not going to get on some high horse about gun control here, because last time we even mentioned the word "gun" on the air, somebody with a gun threatened to come and shoot my husband. Yes, that's true. The guy actually showed up at the station.
I AM, however, going to get on my high horse about mental health. Take care of it. Talk about it. BE PROACTIVE. We don't know if the shooter had a mental illness, but let's be honest - you are NOT well if you grab a gun and mow down hundreds of innocent people.
You want to post about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Go for it. Wanna hashtag it? Fine. Send your thoughts and prayers. But don't leave it at that, because it's obviously not working for us as a human species. DO SOMETHING.
I walked into the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Genesee County headquarters for their open house earlier this year. Not for publicity, but to make a difference. I offered to partner with them. You know why? Because I have a mental illness. I have anxiety and an eating disorder. And I want to make a difference for others, as well as help myself.
We didn't talk about mental health in my family growing up. My parents only got me help when I cried out for it - by cutting my wrists. Too real for you? Too bad.
It's not easy or fun to talk about this, but it's time to normalize it. Make it acceptable. Make people feel COMFORTABLE to talk about it and get help for it. We can't change the world; the shooter had no previous run-ins with police, and we know NOTHING about his mental health. Could we have prevented this? I don't know. But I do know that we need to try.
NAMI Genesee County offers family support groups, veterans support groups, and supports people RIGHT HERE in our community who live with mental illness, as well as their families. Here's their calendar. Go to a group. Email. Call. Donate.