Nancy Sidhu Speaks on Mental Health Awareness in Action

Mental Health Awareness In Action   May Bulletin 2016

Just in case you haven’t heard the news………………May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We’re hoping more temple members than ever before will take this month to heart. Let’s all make a decision to learn more about mental illness and then to help all of us get over our fears about it.

Too often the stigma about mental illness keeps us from talking and even thinking about it. And the cure for the problem of silence is thinking and talking about it. It’s nearly that simple.

Almost every one of us knows someone with a mental disorder, or we ourselves are struggling with one. If we had a place and a community where stigma didn’t exist, we could share our experiences and our difficulties, we could get the support and love we need to cope. It’s nearly that simple.

No, learning, thinking, talking, getting love and support is not the whole answer to building a stable, happy life, but together they go a long way. Good professional help is key, but moral support is also key. And even if we don’t know anything about brain disorders, we all know about being kind and accepting of others, of helping when help is needed. We, right here at Emanu El, can create that warm, supportive place. Right here we can create a tikkun olam, a repaired world.

Here’s May, a new month. This is our chance.

  • We can wear the lime green ribbon showing we’re ready to engage others in conversation about mental health and illness.
  • We can sign up for a course called Mental Health First Aid to be offered at the temple.
  • We can attend some of our educational meetings during the coming months.
  • We can just sit right down this evening and share with our family thoughts and feelings about mental illness.

There’s so much each of us can do. It’s nearly that simple.

Nancy Sidhu, Co-chair Mental Health Awareness In Action

I am thrilled to share with you some of what is planned at Congregation Emanu El for the month of May 2016—Mental Health Awareness Month.

An abundance of lime green awareness ribbons will be available all month in the temple entry, the Merkaz. They will be found under a poster board that will highlight the effort to end the stigma of mental illness. You are invited to join the clergy, temple staff and office volunteers in wearing a lime green awareness ribbon throughout the month.

Some ways to respond to inquires about the green ribbon you wear include sharing these facts: 

–Over half of all Americans will experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime.

–Everyone knows someone whose life is affected by mental illness.

–The stigma of mental illness prevents people from seeking the help they need and deserve.

–Treatment of mental illness in youth and adults is overwhelming successful.

–I believe we all need to speak openly about mental illness to end the stigma. 

–I am stigma free. I see the person, not the illness.

–Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 years.

–1 in 4 adults lives with a diagnosable mental illness.

At every Erev Shabbat service in May, Rabbi and Cantor will present a lesson from Torah pertaining to mental illness.

Four different lay speakers will briefly share a mental health awareness thought at each Erev Shabbat service in May.

A banner proclaiming May as Mental Health Awareness Month will be displayed all month long on the corner of Ford and Patricia.

Plan to be present at the temple annual meeting on May 19 where a 90-second video on breaking the silence surrounding mental illness will be shown.

I hope you get the idea that Congregation Emanu El is a place this May 2016 and henceforth where the subject of mental illness can be discussed openly, knowledgeably and with loving kindness. 

Heidi Nimmo, Co-chair Mental Health Awareness in Action