I am so proud to launch the Cypress Resilience Project during such a critical time in our communities!
When I was thinking about what to write for this inaugural blog, I just kept hearing “Now more than ever” in my head.
We have always known that mental health challenges, suicide, substance use and overdose, grief and trauma impact so many of us. Before COVID-19 struck, we knew we had lost too many friends, family members and colleagues to these issues. And now during the pandemic, we are seeing each metric we were fighting rise in response to the toxic stress levels we are experiencing and to the social isolation we must employ to fight COVID. We are going through a collective trauma – a series of collective traumas – and the secondary consequences for the public’s health are high. In a recent report the CDC alerted that 40% of adult Americans reported “struggling with mental health or substance use” while 25.5% of young adults 18-24 years old had “seriously considered” suicide in the last month (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm).
So my “Now more than ever” list goes like this:
Now more than ever … we must remember that individuals and communities have inherent resilience that supports, inspires and drives change. Resilience means so much to our team that we put in right in the name of our organization!
Now more than ever … we must acknowledge the reality of the challenges we face and start having brave conversations that support people in real ways.
Now more than ever … we need to fight stigma head-on to ensure that all people can receive the care they need to feel better.
Now more than ever … we need to come together for community based skills building so we can help each other manage a mental health challenge, crisis or trauma.
Now more than ever … we must disrupt the cycles of historical trauma felt by so many communities and drive system strategies that are trauma informed; focused on the value that exists when all people are included.
Now more than ever … we need to support each other. 2020 is no joke folks. This a time with serious challenges and we are being called to action.
Now more than ever … remember that you are enough just as you are. Remember you are special. You are unique. You are worth being here. We care about you. You are not alone. We are fighting for you and with you. We want you to be here. You are strong. There is hope and there is help. If you are feeling unsafe – please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/). You can speak with a counselor in English or Spanish 24/7 – there is service for those who are deaf and hard of hearing as well. The conversations are free and confidential.
Cypress Resilience Project is founded in the belief that we all have gifts to offer one another. One of them is simply letting people know that we care and we are here to help. In honor of the launch of Cypress Resilience Project at Public Health Institute – I encourage you to check-in on a friend, a family member, a co-worker and remind them they are not alone. We will get through this – but we are going to need to lean on each other to do it!