Aside from all the practical reasons and technicalities, House Bill 2191 is really special because of the core concept behind it: that physical and mental health are equal and should be treated as such. In fact, they’re connected.
Take health care for example. Think about CPR. If you were put in a situation where you had to administer CPR, would you know at least a little bit of what to do? Think to yourself — most likely yes because CPR trainings are offered in most schools, workplaces and even online. We even have songs that go with it.
But how about mental health care?
I know I was trained in CPR in my seventh-grade health class. What if I was trained in seventh grade how to manage my mental health or how to respond to a mental health crisis?
I’d love to see a world where each of us has a toolkit of skills to help a friend, coworker, family member or even stranger going through a mental health crisis. And these resources should be especially available in schools because that’s where students are struggling the most.
The other concept that I sincerely hope you take with you today is that it is always OK to not be OK, and it is always OK to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a whole day; sometimes that’s not realistic.
But it can be a few moments here and there to check in with yourself.
Think of life like a long-distance race. If you sprint in the very beginning you’re going to get burnt out. You may even hurt yourself from pushing too hard. But if you pace yourself, if you take it slow, sometimes intentionally, and you push yourself other times, you are sure to be way more successful.
So please, look after each other, look after the kids and teens in your life especially the ones that look like they have it all together. Mental health challenges are not going away, but as a society, we can learn how to manage them by looking after one another.
And look after yourself, too. As my mom would say, “Once in a while, take a break.”