It’s Ok to Not Be Ok
1 in 4 people report a mental health crisis in their life. Globally, over 800,000 suicides are reported each year, with exponentially more going unreported. In America alone, over 121 individuals complete suicide on a daily basis. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youths aged 12-24 and is the fastest growing cause of death among 10-13 year olds. *
If these statistics don’t take your breath away, I’m not sure what will. We live in a day where mental health stigma is at an all time high- and I’m not sure why. If 1 in 4 people report having had a mental health crisis in their life, shouldn’t it be more normal and common place to talk about these things?
By this point you are probably thinking, what on earth does this have to do with accounting? Not much, but let me tell you why we care.
This past weekend Lance CPA Group participated in a fundraiser sponsored by the organization Hope for the Day– an organization committed to providing resources, advocacy, engagement, awareness, and prevention in relation to suicide and other mental health crisis situations. Their tagline “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” encompasses the very essence of who they are. We were overcome with emotion by the stories that were shared and the pain that was so clearly evident in family members of loved ones who have completed suicide.
It was brought to our attention that suicide is not a “casserole death.” Let me explain. When a loved one dies of cancer, disease, accident, or even natural causes, the bereaved are flooded with care, condolences, and of course- casseroles. Food is heaping in refrigerators and freezers- people offering one of the only things they know how to do in hard times- other than to be a friendly smile or a shoulder to weep on. Suicide is not treated this way. People are awkward, stand-offish, and ramble out nonsense words to try and make themselves feel better about feeling awkward and stand-offish. Often people will say, “That’s so selfish, how could someone take their own life and leave everyone else behind/alone?” The reality of the matter is that most individuals who have completed suicide have felt alone for far longer than any of their loved one’s realized. They have come to the end of themselves, for a myriad of reasons, and see no better way to end the misery than to take their own life. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware of the awfulness of their state, having been completely consumed by mental health issue that have been left uncared for or untreated. Regardless of the reason, with approximately 100 people being affected by everyone one person that completes suicide, family members and loved ones of suicide victims need to be treated with tenderness and care. They need to be brought meals and hugged. They need to be given permission to be angry or sad or relieved or any of the other hundreds of emotions they may feel in this time. Family members need this to be a “casserole death.”
Beyond this, we need to be talking about mental health issues. We need to be sharing when we aren’t okay or about the times when we weren’t okay. We need to let people know that “It’s okay to not be okay.” The members of Lance CPA Group are committed to educating ourselves more about mental health stigma and issues. We intend to be trained by Hope for the Day and offering our time and talents in any way we can. We desperately care about the men, women, and children that are suffering from often debilitating mental health issues. We are committed to slowly erasing the stigma of mental health issues, one team member at a time.
Please check out Hope For the Day here and get involved however you can.
*statistics from https://www.hftd.org/