September 9-15 is Suicide Prevention Week. I wrote the following poem to talk about the elephant in the room — the stigma attached to mental illness.
Depression, PTSD, and other mental disorders have plagued millions of people who hide in the shadows of their suffering. A staggering 800,000 people commit suicide every year worldwide and it’s on the rise in children under 18. Most people do not seek treatment (or disclose their struggle to loved ones) because they (we) are weighed down by the stigma.
I wrote a story about my brother’s battle with the stigma of HIV/AIDS and how it robbed us of precious time with him. I believe in fighting stagnant mindsets that put people in boxes of suffering. I originally posted this poem to my FaceBook page but in light of the fact that this is Suicide Prevention Week, I felt that I would be remiss by not sharing it with my readers.
If you have a loved one who is suffering from depression or any other mental illness, please point them to the help they need. Also, be kind, loving, and patient. If you are suffering, this poem is for you. You are heard. You are not alone. There is hope.