Your Voice Matters

School has started!

I love teaching at Anne Arundel Community College! As much as I DO love it, I also enjoy investing myself in students by advising two student clubs. You get to know students on another level when you are getting to know them through a club or organization that they are passionate about. One, Active Minds, is not only a student club but also a chapter of the national organization. If any place should support suicide prevention and help to erase the stigma of mental health issues, it should be a college campus.

I know many of Hearing Elmo’s readers do NOT attend college. Yet within the disability community, we still need to remind folks that YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

So many times people with disability or chronic illnesses think they are without purpose or feel they have any real avenue in which they can make a difference. Many with disability have transportation issues and are often locked within boundaries that feel pretty darn oppressive.

This population is actually at greater risk for suicidal ideation (Disabled world, 2017) compared to the US population as a whole.

Quality of life certainly plays a role in the danger of suicide in those living with disability. However, it is more than the symptoms we struggle to manage. Isolation, stigma, finances (e.g. fighting for SSDI), fatigue, hopelessness and co-morbid mental health diagnosis all contribute.

Y’all? I’ve been there. Please… don’t give up. The fight is worth the cost of “keeping on” simply because YOU are worthwhile. You may feel as if you have no voice. You do! The internet has actually made it easier than ever to find and use your voice. Sometimes finding a place to plug in and BE HEARD, makes all the difference. Here are just a few ways:

1. Start an online or face-to-face support group.

See what your county has already available and get involved.

Use one of the numerous website and virtual group options and connect. FaceBook has a user friendly way of starting online groups.

Hang posters, ask your doctor to let other patients know, see your library personnel to find both meeting places and avenues of advertising.

2. Start a blog or vlog.

The disAbility community is alive and well on the Internet. You will be surprised how quickly you will have followers, and it is easy to find other bloggers who share many of your challenges.

3. Create.

Are you an artist? Musician? Writer? Love crafts? Use your talents to spread awareness about living with disability.

4. Volunteer.

You would be surprised how many volunteer opportunities are available where you live. Put Google to work for you, and discover what the options are. Sometimes a reason for living, is simply doing something that makes a difference in others.

As a deaf person, I count myself lucky and blessed to “hear again” with cochlear implant technology. Yet the silence is LOUD, even deafening, when someone makes the choice to stop fighting and checks out.

I get it. This life is hard. However, your voice matters… likely to more people than you think. At the very least it matters to me.

You are not in this alone.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

L. Denise Portis, Ph.D

Journal: <i>Disabled World</i>. Language: English. Author: Thomas C. Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2015/06/14. Last Revised Date: 2017/02/13. Reference Title: “<i>People with Disabilities and Suicide Awareness</i>”, Source: <a href=”https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/awareness/suicide.php”>People with Disabilities and Suicide Awareness</a>. Abstract: Disability in relation to suicide is something that is very hard to find statistics on and it is not a new phenomenon. Retrieved 2019-08-27, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/awareness/suicide.php – Reference Category Number: DW#118-11443.

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