Editorial cartoon

No one’s life is safe from disruption right now. Many are facing health crises and family crises directly connected to COVID-19. Even those whose lives have not been touched by this virus are fighting other effects such as the closure of a business or loss of a job or even just a disconnection from friends and loved ones, a church family or loss of other connections.

While all this is not permanent, it is all serious. And, it’s definitely OK in this time to not be OK.

All of us are facing struggles. No one’s struggles are the same as someone else’s. We’re all sharing in suffering, but our suffering is not the same.

It’s important that we be willing to acknowledge that. This is not a situation any of us have faced before and it’s a slow-moving event, with uncertain timelines. It’s scary right now. We’re on unsure footing in our daily lives, and on top of that, there’s a disease bearing down that is capable of taking lives.

Our culture has unfortunately often been one that has been skeptical, if not outright hostile, to discussing and acknowledging mental health issues. You’ll more often hear someone say that someone needs to look up and stop being so negative instead of recommending they seek out counseling or the help of a medical professional in dealing with their challenges.

That carries through to today. But, if there’s ever been a time where we need to put that aside, that time is now. This situation is not the one in which we can simply think positive and we’ll feel better. The reality confronts us every day and every hour with new information, much of which doesn’t exactly inspire hope.

There is still reason to hope and hope is important.

But there are still challenges. If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or fear beyond what you can stand, you need to seek assistance. It’s not weakness. It’s the reality of the time in which we live.

It’s absolutely vital that, when you reach out for help, you do so to a reputable, trained professional. Friends and others can absolutely help, but they may unknowingly give advice that doesn’t help but harm. That’s why professionals spend time training, so they can treat and help heal people with mental illnesses in the long-term. Sometimes, these professionals can help through non-medicinal methods. Sometimes, however, medication may be beneficial in the short-term or even in the long-term to help deal with these issues.

There is absolutely no shame, especially in a time like this, in seeking help from a professional. Reaching out is the first step to getting on your feet. Those appointments may look different in a socially-distanced world, but these professionals are providing the same services, all the same.

If your situation is getting desperate and you’re considering or having thoughts of self-harm, do not wait. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at, 1-(800) 273-8255, or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

At the end of all this, when we emerge from our homes and begin to come back together, we want as many people to emerge unharmed and better prepared to help rebuild. Each person is important in that future and every single person is valuable.

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