“If you were facing a potentially fatal cancer diagnosis, people would be lined up at your door with casseroles.”
A friend shared those words with me several years ago after his partner suffered a life threatening depressive episode. Their therapist was talking them through the isolation they may face. Despite having depression myself, that was as close as I had ever been to the true horror of the disease and I felt utterly helpless.
I got off the phone that day and sent a casserole, or more accurately a gift certificate for pizza, and the first seeds of The Casserole Project were born. A simple idea to support those affected by mental illness in the same way we provide support to those suffering from physical illnesses.
More often than not, our first reaction to hearing that someone is suffering from mental illness is to ignore the issue.
Mental illness makes us uncomfortable, it makes the people it affects uncomfortable. It’s surrounded in silence and misunderstanding and embarrassment and shame. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Offering support to those suffering from depression or other mental illness can be as simple as sending dinner or helping get the kids to practice or home from school. It’s as easy as stopping in or sending a note, or checking in on their treatment. It often simply means letting them know that you are thinking of them, that you care, that you want them to get better.
It can be hard to reach out. Sometimes people in the throes of a mental breakdown aren’t always in a position to accept help, but they are most certainly being supported by a group of family and friends who feel as desperate and helpless as they do.
Today, over 30 writers have teamed up to share this post.
In doing so, we hope to break the silence and the stigma surrounding mental illness and offer the support our loved ones desperately need. The kind of support that so many would love to provide, but often feel helpless in doing. We hope that you will join us in doing the same.
Love The Casserole Project? Nothing would make me happier than to see it incorporated into a blog, website or group that is already providing support to the individuals and families struggling with mental illness. Please e-mail Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be interested in taking on the project!