In light of the recent suicide of Mindy McCready, discussions of mental health, addiction, and suicide have been put in the spotlight. So often these subjects are only discussed when it involves a celebrity and soon forgotten when the news changes to the next story. The rest of the time, such subjects are swept under the rug or discussed only in passing.
When the celebrity is discussed, there is generally talk about not understanding how they could commit suicide, or how they could use drugs or be depressed when they have so much going for them. When a celebrity commits suicide, so often the memory of that person’s accomplishments in life is tarnished by the suicide. The truth is, though, that in death a person is no more or no less than they were in life.
If we as a society were more willing to discuss these types of subjects, the stigma of mental health treatment would be lessened, and individuals would be far more likely to seek help in those times when they are struggling. Being depressed, suffering from addiction, and even being suicidal doesn’t mean that an individual is weak; it means that they need help. So often with the stigma that exists and the unwillingness to discuss such “dark subjects”, many aren’t sure where to find help or do not seek it at all.
Further, those who are in positions where they can help a struggling person feel as if asking a question such as “do you need help?” is overstepping bounds. As a parent or teacher, that is understood to be your job; but it is also the job of a boss, friend, or sibling to ask such questions if there are signs that the person is struggling with a mental health issue.
Many may say that for a boss or coworker it is violating some unwritten rule, and if it was asked many wouldn’t want to admit they were having problems, but the truth is that many employers have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs allow for individuals to get the help they need at no cost to them and will help connect the person with the help he or she is in need of.
The most important thing to remember is that when a person is dealing with depression, anxiety, or whatever other issue, seeking help is the best way to resolve that issue and knowing it is okay is the best way to ensure they get the help they need. It is truly sad that we lost such a great musician as Mindy McCready, and many will say “what a waste”, but if her death brings about discussions in families and among friends that leads to other getting the help they need, then I say her death was not in vain, but serves a higher purpose.
Posted by Justin Nutt.