About nine months ago, I had an idea called "mental health justice." I didn't know exactly what it meant but I knew justice was important to the mental health community. I also knew because of societal stigma and judgment that achieving justice would not be easy. But I took my idea and made it into a mental health advocacy website mentalhealthjustice.net and an accompanying Facebook Page, Mental Health Justice.
Throughout the last many months, I have been privileged to bear witness to your stories, your lives, and those of your loved ones. But this week has been like no other. I am in sheer awe of the outpouring of activity to support suicide prevention.
Our idea was born of this powerful quote shared by Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams.
Her beautiful metaphor about the same yellow moon for all of us to share was inspirational. Along with my communications team, we decided to launch a Virtual Candlelight Vigil Campaign–so, those who have experienced suicide in any way could light a candle for suicide prevention in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
When we launched Virtual Candlelight Vigil Campaign, we did so believing we would have a powerful response. Boy, were we right! Our first member to send a lighted candle was Vicky Murphy of Florida.
Thank you Vicky, you and Zelda Williams–started something special. In two days, thirty seven members lit candles and courageously told us a story in words and pictures about how suicide and mental illness has affected their lives.
The swell of support and love for those stories is nothing short of breathtaking. It seems that the news of the day accentuates what separates us as humans and people suffering in some way with mental illness. What I learned this week is in spite of where we live, how old we are, what socioeconomic level we are at, or anything else–we are bound by a shared passion to care and help one another–to put an end to this epidemic of suicide and give hope to every single, lovely soul.
I will end by posting this poignant video of the amazing act of compassion of a Raleigh, North Carolina police officer after saving a suicidal man from jumping off a bridge to his death.
We are a community.
We are Mental Health Justice.
No Stigma, no Judgment. Everyone is welcome.