It’s okay to ask for help to make the first step for strong mental health

Mayor Randy Hibberd
You may have wondered why there wasn’t a Mayor’s Column in last week’s paper. Well, it was because your Mayor was in San Antonio, Texas for a national rural hospital conference.  
 The American Hospital Association hosts these conferences each year for their members. As a hospital trustee, I try to go just to keep up on what is going on in the hospital sector outside of Weiser.  
 Many of the sessions had cross-over information that can also be applied to the city as well, such as emergency management, leadership training, how to work with legislators, and suicide prevention. Overall, it was an intense few days. At times it was difficult to take in all the information, but well worth the try.  
 Oh, and Cathy and I took a couple of extra days in San Antonio to explore the Alamo and take in the Riverwalk. Overall, it was a very good trip! 
 One of the recurring themes of the Mental Well-Being and Suicide session was the “stigma” of having to get help with mental health issues. Many people do not get help just because of what they think their family and friends might think.  
 This was an issue I have had to deal with in my life. You see, I grew up in a household with more than a few seriously conflicting dynamics. One of the dynamics was a mother who had mental health issues, but refused to be treated because of the “stigma.”
 Of course, these conflicting dynamics had an affect on me also. However, as I moved into adulthood, I believed that if I simply set aside all the issues from my background and concentrated on being the person I wanted to be, I would be just fine. I married, began a career, started a family, was involved in community services and things were going well… for a while.  
 When I turned 30, I began having feelings of extreme loneliness and thoughts of suicide. After a brief period of trying to deal with it myself, I chose to get help.  
 When the therapist started asking about my background, I thought “what does this have to do with anything?” Turns out it was about 95 percent of the problem.
 It took some time to work through all the things I had set aside. At times it was painful. But the work overall was positive and rewarding.  
 Working through the issues has allowed me to be more of the person I wanted to be. In contrast, my mother spent an increasing amount of her time homebound because I believe she did not trust herself to be in public.  
 I say this not to unload my personal history, but to let you know that if you are struggling with your own situation, reaching out for help is a strong, positive step. You are taking control and doing something constructive with your situation. Anyone who attaches a stigma to reaching out is simply uninformed of the cost and consequences of not receiving help when needed.  
 If you, or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts just dial 988 for 24/7 help.  
 Well, that’s it for this week. Thank you for letting me be on my soapbox. 
 Hope you have a wonderful week!


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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