By Brian Simmons, Executive Director.
You’ve probably noticed by now that things are starting to look a little different around here. We’ve added a new page that’s all about Trust and confidence in our organization’s integrity (we are nothing without your trust and confidence), revamped our Resources page (and are actively looking to expand our knowledge base and educational offerings), and are starting to take a more active role on this blog as a tool for educating people about mental illness as well as connecting them with the personal impacts of mental health disparities and stigma.
One of my goals for the second half of 2017 (and beyond) is to continue to do exactly what we’ve been advocating for you to do: speak up, get loud, and be heard. Continue to do that and do it better. Mental health isn’t going to change by sheer will, alone. We have to change it. We have to get our voices heard in our communities, our schools, our workplaces, and our halls of government. We have to lead by example.
My commitment to you is simple: we will continue to speak up, we will get loud (and louder, and louder…), and we. will. be. heard. until our dream of mental health care is a reality.
But with that, we need a commitment from you. We need you to speak up and help amplify the voices for change. We need you to like, comment on, and share our posts on social media (Facebook and Twitter especially), share this blog and its posts, and don’t let your friends and family get away with using stereotypes. “Mental illness” doesn’t mean “crazy.” We need you. And more importantly: the people living with mental illness who live their lives without a voice need you. We need to engage people and have the conversations about mental health that will start normalizing mental illness, improve outcomes, and save lives.
Our dream is not an easy one, but our dream is not unattainable. As a former president once put it:
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.“
We must do the same. We must press on until that day when mental illness is treated no differently than any other medical condition and people are no longer afraid of others knowing (or just thinking) they have a mental health issue.
We will succeed. We must succeed. And we will. Together.
Thank you for all you do. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out. Thank you for continuing to give a voice to those who are unable — or too afraid — to speak up for themselves because of mental illness. Thank you for trusting and partnering with us in our work to #EndStigma.
I remain humbly at your service,
Brian Simmons, Executive Director