We are instructed to help this child by telling the story of when the Jews went forth from Egypt.An open and honest conversation about mental health starts with us. From the child who doesn't know how to ask, we learn accountability and our role in ending the cone of silence around mental health.
For those who don't know where to start, we can begin the conversation. Almost all of us are the child who does not know how to ask at some point in our lives. There are so many reasons we may not know how to ask a question: We don’t have the vocabulary, we don’t know there is a question to ask, or perhaps we aren’t feeling comfortable and safe enough yet.
Let's face it; we don't learn how to talk about mental health in school.
We live in a world with a lot of shame and stigma around mental health disorders, substance abuse and even things as "simple" as depression. The child who does not know how to ask doesn't yet have the language to share what's going on for them, because we have not provided it to them yet. And this is where every Jewish person can have a role.
When we are willing to stand up and share our experiences, to be open and vulnerable, and to start the conversation, we make space for everyone else to share. We send the clear message they are not alone and are supported by our communities. And they also give us the opportunity to enact the Jewish value of kol Yisrael arevim zeh la eh (All Jews are responsible for one another) and tikkim olam (repairing the world).
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