Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Asian American Teenage Girls Have Highest Rates of Depression"

This is one of the 8 highlighted items from NAMI's main page. The brief synopsis of key issues is based on a report that was just released this past February, based on a "listening session" held in LA in November of 2010.

I bring this up to partly contextualize feedback received from a reading we did of the play just this past week, with Artists' Bloc, another local organization I'm involved with as Membership Director.

One of the questions was if audience members had any new thoughts or revelations with regard to mental illness. Most said no, one even said that they didn't realize that the piece addressed it.

Which is all well and good, actually. Part of the dilema with this piece is the dichotomy of mental health in a sense being even more covered and talked about, at least topically.  Yet, the disconnect can be a NIMBY mentality, that we (as individuals) don't realize it can affect us until it does.

So this is good moving forward in the context of the piece because in one way, it forces us to not get so lost in the story, that we also forget to inform.  In another, it addresses the challenge of a certain fatigue we all seem to experience whenever a topic or issue seems to be saturated.

Just because we might be tired of hearing about it, doesn't make it any less important to be aware of, does not mean that people who have never had to deal with it before aren't dealing with it for the first time. I'm sure you can probably think of a host of other topics this might relate to.

I recently heard about a young Filipina who recently committed suicide in the DC Metropolitan area.  The context of this news was a friend reinforcing the urgency of the piece this summer, "Pinoy: A 'merican Tale".

In the end, I hope this piece is just the beginning continuation of a conversation that will take all of us, whatever community you're a part of, and ask us to continue to have an open mind and an open heart, to be honest with ourselves and each other.

Particularly in times such as these, yes, there are some things we might not be able to do anything about but wait.  But with each other, with those who are close to us in life, there is better time than now to check in, to say hi, and to reassure each other that whether we are friends or family, we are there for each other, to believe in and love one another.

- JR Russ, Vision Director, A Way of Life Productions

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