Today, January 25th , is Bell Let’s Talk Day here in Canada. It’s a day to discuss and bring awareness to mental health of all kinds. This got me thinking about a particular episode of Wind at My Back, one that always stands out to me as one of the best episodes of the series.
In season three, episode three, “The Forever Leap”, the people of New Bedford are reeling after a young woman takes her own life. They don’t want to talk about it and yet they can’t help being curious as to why she would do so. In one scene, Honey asks “Did her Father say why she would so such a thing?” and the person she is speaking with says, “No. No he didn’t.” And then hurries away, lest he get sucked into discussing it more. Later, the girl’s Father says, “People think the worst when it goes like this I guess…I raised her, good as I knew. Everybody thinks I oughta know what was going on in her head. I thought I did…but I guess I didn’t. Never will now.”
The issues in this episode are still so prevalent and I guess that’s what sticks out for me so much. The fact that everyone wonders why this young woman would do such a thing, why she would remove herself from the world, but no one can answer why because she didn’t feel that she could talk about it. She didn’t know that it was okay to tell someone how she was feeling.
And it is okay, it’s more than okay. I think we have to remember that no matter how alone we may feel that we are not alone. That there is someone who will listen to us, there is someone who will understand or at least try to. At some point in our lives many of us have probably felt depressed, many of us have probably felt that anxiety so keenly that we can’t breathe and many of us probably know someone or know of someone who is struggling to cope. Mental illness takes many different forms, some very extreme and some less so. And I think that even if we’ve never experienced that ourselves, we have a duty to try and be compassionate, to try and be that ear that listens and lends support. To try and be that person that says you are not alone.
Today is just one day to bring attention to mental health, but every day is a day to take action.