Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19: The Stigma-Free Society – A Conversation with Junie Swadron
This is an interview, about the stigma-free society, I was asked to give on a mental health forum on May 20, 2020, hosted by Nisha Khare, a beautiful and wise clinical counsellor with a heart of gold.
Please watch this interview and share it, because it could possibly save a life.
Does the stigma-free society sound dramatic? Well, perhaps to some. Not to those suffering with mental health challenges though—including anxiety, which is pandemic across the globe right now. Uncertainty is at the top of the stressor scales.
The interview is anything but depressing, yet it deals with the true circumstances of what countless people are contending with even as you read this. Click this link to watch and share my interview on Facebook.
Teens, Parents, Mental Health, and YOU
The statistics on teenage suicide are staggering. With COVID-19, where families are together 24/7, some are fairing well, even improving their situation through bonding in ways they never did before.
Yet other families are not coping as well. When everything we know as “normal” suddenly disappears overnight, it causes fear, anxiety, uncertainty and stress for some people.
When we’re being forced to learn new ways of being together under the same roof, when parents are having to learn to home school their children at the same time as navigating financial losses, that in itself adds undue stress to this situation.
When the supports that most of us have relied on have become impossible, liberties that were taken for granted, simple things like going to the gym, meeting with our buddies in coffee shops, or spontaneously going out for an evening meal or listening to live music—our stress levels go up even further.
This is a world in lock down. If one does not have the tools to cope and adapt, it can reach crisis levels. And for those challenged with mental health issues, the risk of accelerated crisis can be even more severe.
No one with mental health challenges, no matter what their age, wants to feel this way! Yet, no matter how hard they may try to overcome their fear, terror, suicidal ideation, etc., they often cannot bypass the chemical imbalances inside their brain that are, in some instances, being reinforced by stressful, perhaps even abusive or dangerous environmental conditions.
My Story (very brief version!)
When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with manic-depressive affective disorder (bi-polar illness). Having gone through the ravages that the illness caused, I know only too well the “dead” seriousness of this dis-ease—when suicide seems your only option. It was mine on several occasions. I humbly give thanks every single day because it is only by the Grace of God, go I.
You can read my blog post about it here: Robin Williams — Death by Suicide
If you know me, you know that I am not one to espouse negativity. Just the opposite. I will encourage people with every step, to share their truth, to not live in denial, not to pretend things away . . . but to use the many resources that each of us has within us—as well as countless other tools that we can find and use.
The Interview — Revealing Resiliency Tools
My interview, which I am asking you to please watch and share, will reveal tools that I swear by—strategies that have become staples in my life and that have helped the lives of thousands of others I have had the privilege of counselling over the past 30 years.
But none of us can do it alone. And we are not meant to. Loneliness is the number one killer of the human spirit—often leading to death itself.
Let’s declare that together the days of the lone wolf are over! Let us hold hands and hearts as One Human Family.
We are all teachers and students at the same time. We all have things to give and things to learn from others. Let’s share our resources, our love, our talents, our inner strength, the things we have learned over our lives—young and old—to help us navigate the tough times.
The interview I gave can be found on a mental health Facebook forum, spearheaded by Andrea Paquette, also known as Bi-Polar Babe. Andrea has been my friend for about a decade and I have great admiration and respect for her.
Andrea has been an absolute direct lifeline to thousands of young people across the nation through the school presentations she has delivered. She has taken mental health out of the closet of shame, stigma, and remorse into the light of hopefulness, strength, and recovery. Andrea is courageous, brilliant, and unstoppable.
Her website, The Stigma-Free Society, is a must for every young person, their parents and educators. Please share this link too! It could be a lifeline at this very moment in time.