Not Alone

 In 2021, Tip of the Week
Imagine what it might be like to feel like you are not okay mentally. Maybe engaging with others would be a challenge, being in social settings, even at work, could cause you to panic. Maybe small stressors that most people seem to manage would be difficult for you. Or maybe every day events would be heard and seen differently. Your mind would process things differently than other people. And you might feel alone.

Now imagine what it would be like if you had mental differences, and the world shut down. The people who comforted you, calmed you, and guided you became less accessible, or not accessible at all.

For some people, they don’t have to imagine what that’s like. They lived through that. These are the survivors of 2020 who have mental health challenges. For them and others like them and the families and friends who support them, the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) has declared the theme of National Health Awareness Month (May 2021) to be “You Are Not Alone.”

Why are we talking about mental health in an occupational safety tip? From an article in EHS Today, three out of four employees in the US have dealt with mental health issues on the job. To read more, follow this link: And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2018, workplace suicides reached an all-time high

And then, through no one’s fault, in early 2020, a pandemic shut the world down. Everyone who could do so went into hiding. Everyone felt afraid, anxious, and many felt alone. Those who already felt afraid, anxious, and alone felt even worse. According to the CDC, while preliminary data indicates a small reduction in suicides in 2020, the calls to suicide hotlines in March of 2020 increased by 891%.

From a real story posted on the NAMI website, one person relates this – “When I was faced with the six walls of my studio apartment realizing that there was a problem, there was nowhere left to run. TalkSpace, and my professional therapist has helped me realize, that I don’t need to run. That I can talk about these feelings, and that there are safe places for me to speak about how I feel.”

You are not alone. If you think and feel differently, you are not alone. Know that there is no “normal.” We are all different., the non-profit organization founded by actress Glenn Close, whose family members have bipolar and schizoaffective disorders, call this the “generation not normal.” Because no one is normal, normalcy is a fallacy. And talking about it, acknowledging our differences, brings mental health to a place where we can do something about it. You can be in a safe place, just like the person who posted their story on the Nami website.

The person we quoted mentioned It is an online resource that connects people who need to talk with therapists who will listen and can help. We recommend it. It’s one way to start the process.

And, for businesses and organizations that want to promote mental health awareness, follow this link to the NAMI site for Mental Health Awareness Month free media kits. It’s not too late. Do what you can to help your co-workers.

Together, none of us are alone.
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