One major difference between my generation and that of older ones is that we talk about mental health issues much more openly these days. This is a very important cultural shift that I think sometimes gets buried under all the great strides we’re making in civil rights for gay people and other issues. It’s only by being free to talk about mental health issues that people struggling can understand that they’re not alone and that there are many available avenues for help.
One of the organizations that offers this help and that promotes open and free discussion of mental health is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The AFSP offers a help line—1-800-273-TALK (8255)—for people with suicidal thoughts. They also participate in state and federal policy advocacy, support research, and even offer tips to journalists on how to write about suicide. And if you supported me during the Out of Darkness walk last October, which raised money for the AFSP, then thank you again!
Another activity I’m participating in to help the AFSP is a comic anthology called Connections. I’m a part of the editorial committee with 4 other volunteers, and we’ve been collecting story pitches and art work for potential inclusion in the book. Although we’ve selected a lot of good contributors so far, we’d love to find even more and make it a lengthier book. You can find more details on the Connections website, but the gist is that we’re looking for pitches for stories that highlight ways in which we’re all part of a bigger community and how important the connections between us are. Of course, this effort is all to raise money for suicide prevention, so we’re certainly looking for stories that deal with suicide and mental health issues as well. Aren’t sure if your story is appropriate? Just try submitting a short description, and we’ll let you know!
The finished book will be printed in black and white and professionally bound. And is there much cooler than putting your own published work on your bookshelf or giving it to loved ones as a gift? If there is, it’s probably getting your work out there to be enjoyed by people you don’t even know! So start thinking… do you have a story to share?
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