Arguably our generation’s greatest battle is the one that does not take place on an actual battlefield but one that takes place in our minds.
Never before has there been such an intense spotlight placed on our mental health, and rightfully so because as we stand and look around, mental illness accounts for a large percentage of deaths in our communities and families.
We must take these moments of extreme loss and pain to acknowledge this crisis we face as people.
Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, etc. can no longer be words that people are afraid to confront or have conversations about; these illnesses are genuine and prevalent issues that many people are going through, and in the same way, that sicknesses like HIV and AIDS, Cancer they need to be prioritized. They need to receive the same amount of energy as well.
Our goal as we tackle these diseases should be to create spaces of comfort, zones that strive to understand what these mental illnesses do to the people who are ill with them. How do we empower those individuals to seek medical help and receive the necessary medication needed to live with these illnesses?
As we create these spaces, push forward these conversations, and normalize these issues, we will begin to create platforms that allow people to freely express their struggles and their lowest points. As we do these things and make it okay not to be okay, we give so many people the opportunity to speak when they are struggling.
An important lesson from Riky’s death I would say is: we should listen, and once we have heard, we have to provide comfort and love.