Public Service Announcement: brought to you courtesy of the pretty people living in their pretty homes with the best of the best available to them. Need food? They have an assistant for that. Need home cleaned? They have an undocumented worker for that. Need medical help? They have a private doctor for that. Need mental health? They have the best on speed dial.
“NBCUniversal on Friday launched a new “The More You Know” public service ad campaign aimed at informing people about how to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and reduce their risk of catching and spreading the virus… The campaign is being supported by many of NBCU’s advertisers and ad-tech providers including Acxiom; Cadent; Canoe; Crossix; Epsilon; Experian; Facebook; Panera Bread; ShareThis; Snap Inc; The Trade Desk; T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods; and Vizio-Inscape. The have donated commercial airtime, service fees, data and/or distribution on their own platforms to run the NBCUniversal-created Ad Council PSAs. ” https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/nbcu-launches-more-you-know-covid-19-psas
The government – local, state, federal – has been warning us of the dangers of social interaction, thereby instilling a fear of fellow mankind. Adding to that are all the shaming posts and memes on social media… you know the ones, the declarations that it’s the stupid people’s fault who are going to the store, or leaving their house as the reason for the continued shutdown of life. “It’s because of people like you that we have to continue isolation,” or some variation thereof. We have to isolate ourselves in order to avoid causing the death of one person, or many deaths. (Translation: if you go out, it’s your fault if a person dies because you didn’t listen.) Everything and everyone is a potential carrier or transporter of the virus and the only “cure” for this virus is to imprison ourselves in our homes. Of course it is only temporary until a vaccine is found, but a vaccine doesn’t “cure” the virus, it just minimizes one’s chance of getting the virus by injecting the virus… or something along those lines.
Cue the pretty people: Victoria Arlen, María Celeste Arrarás, Brie Bella & Nikki Bella, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Gizelle Bryant, Andrés Cantor, Kelly Clarkson, Andy Cohen, Cris Collinsworth, Terry Crews, Ted Danson & Mary Steenburgen, Kate del Castillo, José Díaz-Balart, Reza Farahan, Ben Feldman, Erika Girardi, Melissa Gorga, Savannah Guthrie, Zuri Hall, Bob Harper, Lester Holt, Matt Iseman, Nick Jonas, Hoda Kotb, Marcus Lemonis, Erin Lim, Mario Lopez, Jane Lynch, Rachel Maddow, Dorinda Medley, Craig Melvin, Chrissy Metz, Becky Quick, Carl Quintanilla, Retta, Kyle Richards, Al Roker, Stephanie Ruhle, Tom Schwartz & Katie Maloney-Schwartz, Savannah Sellers, Christian Slater, Chris Sullivan, Michele Tafoya, Mike Tirico, Carmen Villalobos, Melissa Villaseñor, Brian Williams, and Captain Sandy Yawn.
Pretty people in their pretty homes informing the public that although we are isolated, it’s important to take care of our mental health and there is help available, just a text away to an unknown source. Wow! There it is, the cure for mental illness. All it took was government-imposed isolation to discover there is such an easy fix to mental illness. I’m so glad the sponsors donated money/time to inform us of this… I feel so much better now… guess I can sleep well tonight.
Except – yep there is an except – one question? How does this infomercial – sorry, public service announcement – truly help one person with a mental illness. These pretty people who live in a segment of society that the average American will never even drive by are suddenly telling you – the average American – that it’s important to maintain mental health by finishing that project, staying in touch with family (thought we were suppose to not interact with anyone, including family), calling a friend, “reminding ourselves to stay in tuned and connected as we experience these changes…” “it might be one of the most helpful things we can do…” And if that’s not enough to help you, well there’s always the know-all, cheerful bartender from the friendly neighborhood pub to tell us, “If you need help, it’s just a text away.” (Ted Danson, Cheers)
BAM! There it is, just a text away, all the help a person needs. Phew, I’m so glad because that was a close one.
I am raising the elephant dung flag. Let’s just break this down a bit, shall we? A person lives with a mental illness every second of every day. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, OCD, suicidal… Even in the best of times, waking up, getting dressed, venturing into the world in which they live is a feat and testament to their courage to just get through the day without ending up in the mental ward or morgue. Yet now, every fear they have is being voiced by government officials, “friends” on social media and any other number of people declaring we have to avoid each other, and only essentials shall be purchased, and only essential employees can work… examine that last one: only essential employees. Imagine, you already struggle with self worth, and that job you had was the only thing that gave you a reason to get out of bed. It wasn’t the world’s best job, just a waitress, but it gave you purpose and an income. Now, everyone has told you this job is not essential, therefore, you are not essential. Add to that the reality that now you can’t pay your rent, or your phone bill. What reason is there now to get out of bed, to live through another second of another day in a world that just confirmed every fear you have?
Add to that the places that you previously went to for peace, grounding, or a simple reminder that beauty does exist are now closed: the beaches, the trails, the parks…
Cue the pretty people: help is just a text away!
The real shame here is the “cure” will prove to be worse than the virus (disease), and the number of suicides will increase especially for those individuals who live with mental illness. But not to worry, suicide and the right-help for mental illness wasn’t a high priority of the pretty people or government officials before the virus, I doubt it will suddenly become a priority when we are told we can go back to normal (new normal).
For those of you who know a person who lives with a mental illness, defy the government orders and social shaming… visit – no phone calls or texts are not enough – actually take the time to go visit that person on a regular basis. You don’t have to offer some sage wisdom, just be there so that person knows they are not alone, and are still valuable. No, it’s not a cure-all, but it’s a start.