It’s Suicide Awareness Month and let me tell you, I’m aware.
I understand the benefit and importance of such months but sometimes I just want to say ‘go fuck yourself, September.’
In part because much of what I see on the internet, indicates that if we were to just listen more, we could save the people we love.
Let me tell you, I listened. For the first two decades of my adult life, I listened. Even when I didn’t really like him, I listened. Right up until the day before he died, I listened. And I’m not the only one.
Look, I’m not saying listening doesn’t matter. It does. I’m a big fan of listening in general. Be kind. Be accepting. Be empathetic. Be generous. This will increase the general state of mental health for everyone. I’m sure there are many people who will find comfort in knowing that the world (wide web) is on their side, at least for a month.
But there are some for whom this will not be enough. And it is no one’s fault. Not theirs for not reaching out. Not yours for not knowing how to help them. It is no one’s fault.
But this does not mean we should just give up.
What we need is a better healthcare system to address mental health and support people who are trying their damndest to save their loved ones who are suffering. We need fewer waitlists and more funding. Here in Ontario, there are 12,000 children and youth who have been on waiting lists for mental health services for 18 months.
And not everyone chooses to go on a waitlist. That is not an easy decision to make. For a variety of reasons. And maybe September will help reduce the stigma that shadows mental health and prevents some people from accessing the supports that are available, limited or not.
It does not make you weak to ask for help.
This is for everyone.
In fact, it’s about the strongest thing we can do sometimes. And once we have worked up the strength to ask for, and be ready to accept this help, to then be told it is not available (for 18 months), that’s devastating.
So keep listening. Keep sharing resources. There is safety in numbers. We must stick together. You are not alone. All of this. But while we’re supporting each other, let’s advocate for a change in how our government supports us.
I’m (still) listening.