Can Kindness be used to address Mental Illness?

I recently read an opinion piece by Lee Siegel in The New York Times entitled “Why is America so Depressed?”  The subtitle is what drew me in, however, I have to confess that after reading the article that my response to it, through this post, has changed.

The subtitle was “It’s no coincidence that our politics and our mental health have declined so rapidly, at the same time.”  I read the article prepared to read another meme about how one party is right and one party is wrong. Or why a certain group of people who believe a certain way are to blame for all of the problems in our society today.  What I came away with was an agreement with Mr. Siegel about the mental health problem in our country today.

I have people very close to me who struggle with mental health issues.  Some have passed away, some are still struggling. In either case, in the past or in the present, our country is poorly equipped to deal with the increasing percentage of people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.

I will say from the outset that my knowledge on the subject is only slightly less than my ability to develop plans and actions to address the widespread needs.  So I will not even attempt to propose solutions in this post, only simply to plead with lawmakers, legislators, and those in the healthcare industry to take this matter seriously and to come up with answers quickly.  Ignorance and avoidance, which is seemingly the current status quo are no longer acceptable and our country faces arguably the most devastating threat to our well-being in the new decade.

What initially attracted me to this article is my desire to use my BAM! Mindset (Being Different, Acting Different, and Making a Difference) to address a problem. In no way am I attempting to minimize the real issues that millions of people in our country are living with each day. At the risk of being accused as such, however, let me offer some suggestions on how to help in some small ways wherever you are and with whatever resources you have – today.

One of the Core Values of the BAM! Lifestyle is kindness.  I contend that we have become a nation of very private, disengaged people who care only about ourselves.  We have replaced kindness with self-absorption. Your family, your workplace, and your community needs you to step away from your smartphone and/or laptop and get reengaged with them.  

I promise that with a very small investment of time and an attitude of kindness you can and will become a member of the BAM! Community.  People everywhere are longing just to be seen, heard, appreciated and loved. There are countless ways to do this and only you are uniquely qualified and gifted to do what only you can do.  Let’s stop waiting for “them” to fix problems and start meeting people where they are and showing them kindness. It will not solve our country’s problems and needs, but it will likely change at least one person’s life. And yours.   

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