ATLANTA — Time for a check-in. How are you?
No, really. Answer honestly.
If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. The pandemic has forced us to confront mental health in a whole new way.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day, so 11Alive's Christie Diez checked in with one of Atlanta’s leading mental health advocates.
She caught up with Shanti Das on her way to New York, the conversation happening among the soundtrack of city streets. The former music industry executive turned mental health advocate flew up the East Coast to help Charlamagne Tha God honor World Mental Health Day.
“He’s doing his first annual mental health expo, and I will be moderating a panel on racial trauma and mental health. And then, I will be hosting a breakout session on suicide prevention and sharing my story of my journey,” Das said.
If you haven’t heard it, it’s worth the listen.
Das talks about losing her father and best friend to suicide, and the sudden loss of her sister and how grief filled and colored her world.
Now, she’s recognizing that heavy feeling in the faces of so many still trudging through this pandemic.
“Certainly, whenever I look at my timeline on social media, I’m seeing ‘Oh, rest in peace to this person, rest in peace to that person.’ So, it’s a lot of grief going on right now, that people are trying to navigate through the grief process,” she said.
More than 700,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., but it doesn’t have to be a death - there are lots of life moments that can spark the grieving process.
“Not only can we experience grief and loss from the loss of a loved on, it can be the loss of a job. It could be the loss of a marriage. It’s so many different types of symbolic losses that people go through,” Das said.
So, how do you move forward as the world refuses to stop?
“What I would say to anyone is give yourself that time and space to heal and feel," she said.
That feels easier said than done on some days, but there are resources out there.
The World Health Organization (WHO) started World Mental Health Day and they have several resources on their website.
There is also a free text line if you need immediate counsel. If your feelings are too overwhelming to handle and you are concerned, text "SILENCE" to 741-741 for crisis support.
Das also runs an advocacy and resource organization, Silence the Shame.
For Hispanic and Latino resources, go here.
And the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.