SUN Sailor Editions Excelsior/Shorewood - Page 4

Opinions Sun Sailor Newspapers encourages the free and open expression of ideas and opinions. To that end, we welcome letters to the editor and guest columns from members of the community on issues of local importance. Commentaries can be sent to EXCELSIOR / SHOREWOOD Thursday, May 17, 2018 • Page 4 Our words: The most powerful tool in preventing suicide Over the last few months, our community has been hit hard by several attempted and completed suicides. In the wake of these tragedies, we can often feel helpless and scared. But there’s so much we can do every day to stop these kinds of deaths. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s time to have an important talk about the most powerful tool we possess to prevent suicide: our words. Why? Because our words di- rectly affect the creation and per- petuation of mental health stigma (a word that basically means ste- reotypes, prejudice or discrimina- tion). Think about it this way: Would you ever tell a loved one with cancer to “snap out of it?” What about your coworker with asth- ma? Would you tell them they just need to focus more on the posi- tives in life? Would you ever sug- gest that a person with diabetes “get over it?” It sounds silly, right? But that’s often what people with mental illness hear when they share their diagnoses with others – even though depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are just as legitimate health concerns as cancer, asthma or diabetes. When folks with mental illness are met with this kind of skepti- cism or judgment, they are more likely to struggle silently and avoid seeking help so they won’t be la- Lauren Abdill Guest columnist Lauren Abdill is a therapist at Relate Counseling Center in Minnetonka. beled as “crazy.” Sadly, this can have a deadly affect, as untreated mental illness can sometimes lead to death by suicide. Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do to use your words for good and fi ght mental health stigma. To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, prac- tice making these small changes in your everyday life and help create a culture where no one is ashamed to talk about mental ill- ness: 1) When someone tells you they have a mental illness, don’t try to convince them otherwise. This may sound like a no-brain- er, but people with mental health diagnoses often hear things like “But doesn’t everyone have a bit of OCD in them?” or “My sister’s boyfriend’s aunt’s ex-husband had depression but then he got better so you’ll probably be fi K'BH\[[H\Bۈ\\Z\XYۛ\][O[[H܈\[ˈ[[H[H\HX][H[\B\H[ XXH[YH^B[H[YHY[\Y^B\HXYۛY]Y\\KXYۛ\ˈH\Y^H8'ܘ^x'B[H[YK[[HX\Y]YY[\[\HوYXKH^K8'HX]\\[BYXXH\YZx'H܈8'][\ܛH\[x'H]8&\˜HX[[K]][Hۙ^H[H[YXKHXZH\H[x&\H\[BY[XYH[X]ZXYK[[[ۛH[\Y]KHX\܈\HH\H8'KBZ]YZXYx'H[[[˜X]Y[ۙHZ\ۈYK\\XX[HH\BYX]^[][Y[ \][KBY\]H\ۈYYYY][ܛۙˈ]\]X]\HYXH]Y\\BZ[ܝ\[^x&\H]B[ZXY[Yˈ[Y[X\[H[Z]ܚ[Y\^H۸&][Z]ZXYKHܜX[BXYH\H\8'YYHZXYK'B܈^[\N8']8&\YXY[HX\][X]HYYBZXYHY\\^O'H H\H\ۋ{ H[XYK\ۋYH[XYH KK8'B\ۈ][ܙ^Xx'H[XYق'[ܙ^X'JH\ܚ]X[H[\ܝ[X]\H]۝^\]H\ۂ\H؛[H][HY B\Y H]\[\Y\]B\ۈ\H؛[K\H\œ[H܈[\ܙ\8$H\ۂ]^[XHˈH^B[XH\ۈ]X[B\H\ܙ\ˈHY\\[B\ۈ][[ZXHˈH[[ZX˂H][\YX]\˂]8&\[[[ۈX\[B^H[ZH8'HX]\\˜\\^Hx'H܈8'][\ܛH\ܘ^Hx'H]8&\›]\HYXH\HHY[[X[XYۛ\\[YX]H܂Y][[K]Y\[]H]YXH][H]Y[[[ B\\HY܈[YH8$Z]\قX\YH\X]\HوZ\JH]HXܙZY [[HX\Y[ۙH^KB[8'[Z]YZXYx'H܈8'BX]\\\\8'H[H܋BX[H[^Z[H[\܋B[HوܜX[XYH[]Y\Y[[X[ XX[YBHx&\HXZ[]Y\܂HY[][ []8&\[\ܝ[ X]\HY[[[\\YHX]XK[X []x&\]\X] \B[وY[X[^H܈[\ݙBZ\Y[[X[\H\[ق\\K\x&\X\ۈ܂[HYH[ۙK[H^BHY\[XZ[\H\šۛ] ˂\\][8&\ܝ8&H[[X[H\XH[[X[’]H[HY[^Z[][[ۂX[\Y\]8'\ܝ8'B[[X[\\\Y\XB[[X[\\[HYH[]YX[š]H]YHYH][ۈق'\ܝ8'H[[X[Z[Z[Z\]YYH][H][[Y\[Y[[H]X\\œX\Z\[HY܈[]ܛX[H[]˂x&]HX\و\[\]^HYYZ\܈]][H\[ܚ\˂H[\YH]]\H]\˜H8'\ܝ8'H[[X[ []8$][\[ۘZ\ ’x&]HY[ H8$ٙ\Yܝ[Y[\]\\HXX[ [و\]HY^\\BHY[ZH]\[ۙH[Hܛ\[YZ[\ˈ\]\ݙ\\[ۙ][ۋB[H[ܙY]\\YH\BH[ۙ\[[\\Bۈ]\\H\H\[BY[YXYYHXYK\]X\HݙY]Hۙ]œHY[Z]ˈH]\\ۈ[Z\[H܈H[[ \ۙ\[\H\HZY”RSԂYBZ[Y\[[\YHZ[\HܛY\^X]]BY]܈[H[[\܈TQX\[[Z[\KXX[ۜ[YNYKZ[XKZ[˘KYH[H^]Y H[™YZH\ˈH[[XY[HXX[[[ۙH\^X\[H[HۙHY]XKB[ۈX\[Z\[KH[]\\B\]\[ H[]HY[Z\\XH][ۈH\Y]$x&YH\]\HXHYB[܈ XHX[B\\HۙHو\ۙœ[˂]\H[\ܝ[ ]\œ]X][ۈ\][]و[ [HZ\[\[][[Y]Y[][ۜۈ[[X[ZY'\Y\]H][\Y™H]Yܝ\^\Y[œ[\ۛۈ\Y\Y\ۘZ\Y\[[ܙKYۛ܋B[HYH[[و^\[œ[\ݙ\[H[ܝق\XH[\ܝ[[X[[HH\\XH\Y\š]HX[[[YYY˸'BH\ܝY\X[O•H؛[H\XYHY™[Y]HZ[\HY\B]\Hݙ\[Z[H\YYB\][ۈ[\[XZHZ\ܙ\ B\[][ۈوH\XH[[X[B]HZ\[YX[܋H][›XZ\H\Hۙ\KBXH܈[\H܈[XYH]\YHHZ\ܙ\\[Y[[X[ [BX^H\YZ[YۜZH\œ[\8'\XH[[X[[YK]\[Y[܈H\ۂZ\ܙ\\[[[[X[[]\۸&\\[ۈ\H\XB[[X[ 'BHX[؛[H\]\B[ٙH]\H\XH[[X[\H\]][ۈ[]\›وX[\ܝ[[X[ˈ܈KBY\x&]HY[HX[]HوBZ[YZYHH[\ۋ]8&\[X\XHHYZ[^YB[]Y]H[XY]\BۈYܙHZ\\[\BY]ܛ\˂[ܙHX[Kx&]HY[\BXH&H\^[ š[HY\HZKB\\[][\H\\ˈx&]BXY][]XY\Z\[[H]XXKB\ˈ[[ؚ[]HB][Z]Y\HوZ\[\\[Yˈ\XY]\[˜\HZ\Y]\XHKBZ[HX[H[^\Y[[˜[[\[[YK^Hۙ\[XYYHXYBX[YH[[[۝XB[\Z[]X][ۜˈX[\XB Z[Y\XH[KBX[\H\\[Y Z[Yœ^H[H[]ZY] ۘ[B]Hۈ\[Z\[X[[]\HYܙ\]H][[ݛY ]\H[YY]X[B\[\\\H