I’m on vacation this week. Hopefully, I’m having a good time. I wrote this before I left.
I host book club monthly at my place in Des Moines. The last book we read was Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. She writes about her life perspective and how she deals with her mental illness. She talks about depression. She talks about her struggles, and since this is not her first book and she is known because of her blog and other writings, people are aware of what she has gone through. She said she has at least 24 people who have written to her and said because of her honesty and perspective, they did not follow through with plans to end their lives. The book was very impactful to our group, and it made for an amazing conversation around the table.
It was rather interesting that this was the book we chose to discuss in May. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One of my good friends suggested this book because it helped him so much. He talked about his darkest moments and how even though it happened to him in 2009, he just recently started opening up about how and why that moment came in his life. He vividly described a scene of “almost” and “regret” and how his decision would negatively impact others in his life. We went around the table and talked about the pandemic and social media and the emotional divides in society and the loneliness of so many people right now.
There are so many resources available right now. “Make It OK” is a campaign to stop the stigma of mental illness. Iowa Specialty Hospitals and Clinics is extremely fortunate to have such an amazingly rich and deep group of professionals who are helping those who need help in this area.*
Understanding through active listening and empathy is so essential today. If you know of someone who may need to “Make It OK” … a fellow employee or family member or friend … do the right thing and have that discussion. There should be no stigma attached.
*I've asked Rachel Fletcher, our Behavioral Health Leader, to share some of the resources we have available: At ISH, we have 12 therapists, 2 ARNPs for medication management, and a psychiatrist who will be starting this summer. Through HR, we offer an Employee Assistance Program that can match an employee with a therapist within our facility or somewhere else. The National Suicide Hotline is 800-273-TALK (this will change to 988 on July 16th). Also available is Your Life Iowa by phone 855-581-8111 or text 855-895-8398 or https://yourlifeiowa.org/ to chat or for more information about services available in Iowa.