What is an “Impact Article”?
The Impact category is an easy way to find out how to get involved on an issue. These articles include tips and action steps so that you can easily get involved and help find collaborative solutions for issues in Palm Beach County.
Mental wellness: Ask for help
A quick story:
A CEO of a nonprofit advocacy organization visited a local soup kitchen. He sat at a table with a few bright, clean-cut young men who were engaged in a spirited lunch conversation about current events. As he sat down, they broke off their conversation to make introductions.
"What brings you here?" one of them asked the CEO. He replied that he had come for a press conference. Some elected officials were going to be announcing a new grant for soup kitchen programs.
"Good for them," the man commented, "this place can really use the help. But you know what would be a bigger help for my friends and me?"
The CEO shook his head and asked what.
"Jobs," the man replied. "We're here pretty much every day because we can't get jobs. The reason we can't get jobs is because we have mental illness. Sometimes, when we're off the deep end, we're not especially reliable. We can be fine for a few weeks or months at a time, but then we get sick again and can't work for a few days or sometimes more, and no one wants to take that chance. We wish there were some employers out there who could hire us and not really care if we didn't show up sometimes, because we'd be back later working even harder to make up for it."
The men needed and appreciated the free meal, but what they wanted was to work. They knew that they couldn't do it without help and, unlike many of us, they were perfectly comfortable asking for it. What potential employers hadn't figured out was how to deliver the help they needed in exchange for motivated workers.
Mental illness is as real as any other physical condition. We all face situations and circumstances that we can't manage alone. There are three steps we as a community and as individuals can take:
Knowing that it's okay to ask for help is the first step.
Actually asking for help is the second.
Building the capacity of the community to deliver help is the third.
The real challenge to us all is to make these steps the norm - not the exception.