The Importance of Mental Health After Major Tragedies
I turned 24 years old on Wednesday, the same day I watched two black men lay lifeless after being shot by police officers.
Then I watched the aftermath of a sniper attack in downtown Dallas, interrupting a peaceful protest as an opportunity to cause pain and instill fear. I’ve laughed, cried, fought sleep and passed out due to exhaustion this week. Yet, these experiences are likely being felt by millions of people across the country along with me.
It’s not exactly clear when death became such a public experience, being shown on multiple media outlets and casually thrown upon social media feeds as if it were a sports highlight. But, for some reason, grieving was left behind. After the video of Alton Sterling’s death went viral, people got angry. When Philando Castile was seen slowly curling backwards in the seat of his car, people said, “That’s it!”, although it never truly is. And now that multiple police officers have been shot and killed while mainstream media continues to point at the Black Lives Matter Movement as the culprit, people are lost and admittedly defeated.
It’s time to hit the reset button. Take a sick day at life. Put this week in rice. However you want to refer to it.
It’s time for us, as a people, to take some time to reflect. This is likely a time period we’ll never forget. It may even be looked back on with some historical significance in the future depending on what steps are taken in upcoming weeks. But it’s been exhausting to live through. We all need a break.
Now, doing so isn’t meant to be seen as giving up or calling it in early. The fight to make this world a better place for all of us to live in will continue forward as it always has. But nonstop hard work can only get us so far before we burn out and begin to walk in circles.
The importance of mental health can’t be overstated. We’ve all experienced significant tragedy within a very small period of time. Within 72 hours we’ve seen enough death to last us a lifetime. Moving forward as if this were the status quo is dangerous to our own personal well-being and that of the country we live in.
This weekend should be spent around those most precious to each of us. Tell them you love them and do things you enjoy that can also be therapeutic.
If you need to get away from technology, do that. If you need to talk, do that. If you need to get the unhealthiest bucket of greasy food you can find and sit on your couch all day watching Netflix as an escape from the real world for a couple days, feel free to do that. All that matters is that you’re taking care of yourselves.
Photo: Open source