Ribbons and Colors and Things that Matter.

When asked to write a post highlighting Mental Health Month, and the accompanying Each Mind Matters campaign, my immediate response was “sure.” The unsure part is how can a single voice be heard among the choir of worthy causes competing for attention. It seems at times we are inundated by a barrage of brightly colored ribbons, bumper stickers and sound bites. Perhaps it is a natural consequence of social media and a bit of a ‘look at me’ mentality. The risk is that important messages can get lost in the noise.
My belief is that the Universe has a nice way of providing suggestions. That is if we are quiet enough to receive them. As I was staring at the keyboard, lamenting my lack of creativity, it hit me… not the keyboard, the Universe. It came in the form of an Email on which I was copied. The message was sent from the Agency’s Clinical Director, Suzanne Garafolo, LCSW to the administrative and clinical staff of one our offices.

The suggestion from the Universe was to whisper instead of shout. Suzanne’s message to the crew included the Ribbons and Colors and Things that Matter to be sure. It begins with a rather poignant sentiment of genuine humanity written to the people who are committed to helping others. It is this whisper that might make it past the Kaleidoscope of colors and the noise in the system. If when you next see a ribbon you imagine people rather than a campaign, then this post did some good. At least that is my hope. The Email is copied below:

Hi Team,
I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for the lives you touch every day. What you do has a tremendous impact on individuals, families, and community. We celebrate the opportunity to break down the stigma & offer trauma informed care every day. Thank you for being a part of our mission here at SMWG and I welcome you all to show solidarity with the green ribbons.
Please take the time to check out the following link as it has great resources and shines the light on mental health awareness in the state of California:

Share the Facts About Mental Health
Share these facts and more by downloading the Each Mind Matters flyer and the Mental Health Support Guide to distribute to friends, family and colleagues.
• Mental health challenges are very common. In fact, 50% of us will experience a mental health challenge in our lifetime.
• Mental well-being is a fundamental component of the World Health Organization’s definition of health.
• Half of all mental disorders start by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.
• Unfortunately, research shows that many people do not reach out for support. For young people, an average of 6 to 8 years passes from the time they first experience symptoms to the time when they get help.
• People recover from mental illness all the time. With support and treatment, between 70% and 90% of individuals report reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.
• Good mental health enables people to realize their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities.

Best regards,

Suzanne Garafolo, LCSW
Clinical Director