Storyteller Series: Mental Health Awareness – Karla Johnson

Why is it so hard to talk about mental health? I’ve wanted to share my story for a few weeks now but have had a horrible time finding a way I’m comfortable in approaching it! If it’s hard for me, as I purposely want to address this—it’s no wonder we are all reluctant to talk about, share, or address our emotional health openly.

Health: physical health, spiritual health, emotional health. Do you have a broken arm? Go to a doctor! Lower back problems? See a chiropractor. An impacted tooth? A dentist of course!! A broken heart? Suck it up and deal with it!!

Why do we treat our emotional state as something that isn’t worthy of professional help when we are in crisis or suffering? Does a lack of physical proof negate our need for relief? Apparently, it does, and has since the beginning of time. Fortunately, a new generation of leaders has begun to address emotional health openly—and I’d like to join them by sharing my story.

Like many of you, I haven’t had any broken bones, but over the years I’ve suffered from a broken heart and loss. (Loss of parents, friendships, job, and career). The grief and anxiety I experienced through all of these life changes was more than I could handle alone. I’ve needed help not once, but several times throughout my life!

There was one time when I was really suffering personally and professionally, and I didn’t realize how bad it was. I was in a very dark place, and openly shared my feelings with my CEO!! (You may want to check your relationship with your boss before you take this step!!) Before I knew it she was on the phone and had scheduled an appointment for me with a psychiatrist that afternoon. Thank goodness for her quick support and action. It was as if she came upon an accident scene and immediately administered medical assistance. My emotional state was in crisis. I needed her and she was there. But what if? What if she didn’t take those immediate steps? I guess I’ll never know, but I’m so thankful she did.

Those steps are important. Those steps will provide relief. Those steps can save a life.

These are challenging times. No matter what our age, the world has turned upside down. It’s important that we, as OST professionals are ready to take those steps for ourselves, our kids and colleagues. If you, or someone you know is in emotional crisis, take those steps, or call 211 for help. Don’t hesitate. Stop the bleeding today!

 

Karla Johnson

Grant Writer

kjohnson@sdafterschoolnetwork.org

 

If you need help finding support, visit or call 211 now.

Visit 211 Helpline   

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