A Note From Sarah:
Over the past few months we’ve been hearing from a lot of our fellow business owners about how challenging this time has been and at times, devastating. Devastating emotionally, physically, and financially. While we cannot change the environment causing those challenges, we wanted to take this week’s newsletter to talk to them directly. As we’ve explored this topic, my colleague Rachel brought up some powerful points and rather than me sharing them, I thought it was best to hear it directly from her.
Side note – Even if you aren’t a business owner the message this week is really important.
Last month we did a virtual webinar with the Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Healthiest State Initiative and Capital Crossroads. It was centered on honoring the complexity of human emotions. Many of the webinar attendees were Central Iowa business owners. We heard heartbreaking statistics and stories about faltering mental health in business owners, and unfortunately, a few business owners who had died by suicide. We know this is not something that is central to just Iowa. We know nationwide, mental health problems are rising.
First and foremost, I want to encourage everyone to program this number into their phone. It’s for you. It’s for your friend. It’s for your colleague. 888-273-8255. This is the national suicide prevention lifeline. It’s a 24/7 crisis line.
To the business owners in the audience, I know that so much of our identity is tied to being a business owner. How the business performs feels like a direct reflection of our worth as an individual. But right now, there are circumstances out of our control. There are new challenges that we never could have prepared for. How your business is performing or surviving is not a reflection of you. A business failing or struggling does not mean you failed. It means that a global pandemic hit and the economy crashed and the world caught on fire. If it ever becomes too much. If you ever question if you are worthy. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, know that you are loved. You are worthy. And we need you here in this world. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has powerful resources for support.
And to everyone. It is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. A month that has a heavy meaning in 2020. Suicide is uncomfortable to talk about. It’s taboo. It’s scary. But just like every other aspect of mental health, talking about it saves lives. Talking about it slowly but surely scrapes away at the stickiness of the subject. Asking someone if they are suicidal will never be an easy conversation. But knowing the signs and having a few guidelines of what to ask will help you be prepared for a crisis situation. The National Alliance on Mental Health has resources, as well as Rethink Mental Illness, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
As my colleague Teresa wisely says, mental health affects everyone with a brain. If this year and this month has shown us anything, I hope it’s that kindness, grace, and compassion can be life saving.