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Mental Health

Blog Author: Jamie Rauscher, LVT
NAVTA President

Trigger Warning: please note that this blog contains a discussion of suicide and/or reference to mental health issues that may act as triggers. Please continue at your own discretion.

In our society, there is a stigma associated with the topic of mental health. It is such an uncomfortable topic that many prefer not to discuss the mental health of themselves or their employees for fear of the unknown. Lack of education in how to deal with these matters only complicates things. Those that need the most support are often struggling in silence. We need to learn how to hear what is not being said.

Sometimes, things happen in our lives that forever change us. Fifteen years ago, my eyes were thrown wide open regarding the mental health struggle that plays such a big part in many people’s lives. While I knew many people struggled with mental health concerns, it had never really impacted me. Then, my younger brother took his own life in my home. He was the baby of myself and my siblings. Finding him that day was a life-changing moment for me. To have to make the call to 911 and then my family was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and the next few weeks passed in a blur for me. I remember the funeral and burying him; how painful that was for myself and my family. As we went through family pictures together, I remember saying that I couldn’t believe this was happening. We, to this day, still wonder what we missed in not knowing he was struggling.

A few years ago, a technician friend of mine passed away from suicide. She had been dealing with some physical health issues for a while. Most recently, she had been doing well, enough so that she was able to help my VMA, speaking for us at a virtual conference just a few months prior. She was a wealth of knowledge in her area of expertise and was always willing to share that with others. I will never forget the call I got to tell me she was gone. I was in my clinic helping to prep a patient for a surgical procedure. I answered my phone because I had a break and was shocked by what I was told. I never thought that she was struggling. She kept her pain to herself, never wanting to bother others with her own issues.

While my personal story has also, unfortunately, happened to others, it has helped me to see the struggle of others more clearly. To be able to sit and help a co-worker realize that they are not alone in their battle goes a long way. Taking the time to have an open door and allowing them to sit, talk or even cry has helped me to become closer to my staff. I have held many a hand and cried along with my team. They, too, are part of my family.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call or text 988 or text TALK to 741741