There is hope for those suffering from mental illness and addiction. To access this help, we first need to believe that these are problems that occur in every family, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, or economic status.
There is an unjust stigma attached to people with these illnesses. Often they are seen as only crazy, criminals, junkies, and not worthy of our efforts. THAT HAS TO END! Their self-shaming is a barrier to believing that they are worth the effort to fight this disease. If we end the prejudice, we can help these individuals shed their own shame and that acceptance will allow opportunities for treatment and personal growth.
We are committed to promoting and advocating for the physical, emotional, and mental health of all in our communities. We are dedicated to speaking out and educating the public at large about recognizing, preventing, and treating these illnesses. In addition, we support positive health through the arts, education, sports, and other activities that enhance each individual’s self-image and sense of well-being.
When We Speak Out
Hope is a rope, a ladder, a letter,
a prayer. The match that lights
the votive in the cathedral.
The flame that unfurls itself
from the waxen wick. Anything
that lifts our sight.
Too long we’ve hung our heads,
clutching worry beads at night.
Too long, the lonely vigil
at the window, cell phone
on the night stand, the pillow
sodden with sorrow.
And the hole in the bucket.
Everything we’ve poured into it.
For the fire.
For the house burning down.
For our child at the window.
For the flame and blame and shame.
Too long we’ve hung our heads
to not see neighbors‘ fingers pointed
at our smoking doors. To not hear
what they’re thinking, what they say,
what they think we don’t hear them say,
what we try not to think or say ourselves.
We are the conversation
that stumbles and stalls, as if these photos
in our wallets are of needles
and spoons and forged prescriptions
instead of children with braces
or caps and gowns or promise.
Maybe that picture of promise
is secret, kept on our dresser
like a still life waiting to be painted.
Maybe this is the child
who will live only within us again,
like a second heartbeat.
Maybe our child’s on a run,
or is done running.
This is the child for whom we ache.
Every cell in our body on fire
because we hold our child’s
flickering light in our palm.
We’ve hung our heads in prayer and fear
and despair too long in the dark cathedral
of night. Hope is the chorus of stories,
the touch of a thousand hands. Hope
is the lifting of voices until the sound
is thunder and ocean and echo.
Julia Morris Paul