Author: Karen Copeland
Further to my post, Listening to the Right Voices, what happens when we are given the opportunity to sit and truly listen to the stories that are being shared? A new understanding, a new empathy and a realization that stereotypes are simply that – stereotypes. We realize that everyone has something to offer.
At times we get caught up in stigma, this hesitancy to share or provide insight into why something might be happening…we fear judgement and how we might be perceived. But what happens when we don’t share? What happens when we allow others to make up their own stories about why something is happening? As human beings, we like to have explanations. We can feel uncomfortable when we do not understand something. So to combat this, we make up our own narrative for why something might be happening. And while we sometimes might get close to the truth, more often than not the explanation that WE determine (from a place of not understanding) makes us feel better, feel superior.
What happens when we see people as they should be seen…their strengths, their gifts and their vulnerabilities? We discover similar hopes, dreams and wishes. Wanting to be included, accepted, understood. But if we are always pointing out the challenges, or worse, pretending those challenges don’t exist by avoiding or dismissing them, we risk marginalizing and excluding.
Over the past several months, I have been involved with the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative (CYMHSU) Abbotsford Local Action Team. From the link:
Doctors of BC and the BC government are committed to increasing timely access to support and services for child and youth mental health and substance in BC through funding of one of the largest initiatives of its kind – the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative.
The Local Action Team itself determined three key outcomes they are looking to accomplish in our community over the coming year, and I have joined two working groups – one is focused on raising awareness in our community and the other is focused on building capacity.
Our Building Capacity Working Group is really excited to be hosting a FREE community event on January 28, a panel presentation on Youth Depression and Self Harm. The panel is comprised of a youth, a parent, a mental health clinician and a psychiatrist. If you live in Abbotsford, I hope you will consider joining us for this event and embrace the opportunity to hear the stories being shared. Please click the poster to be taken to the registration page.
***This event is now over***