In their own words: Perspectives on managing mental health

Three colored circles overlapping.
A collection of first-person essays explores how the authors have taken care of their own mental health or that of a loved one.
(Jim Cooke)

In this collection of first-person essays, the authors each explore how they’ve had to work to save their own life or the lives of others.

In Times data journalist Sandhya Kambhampati’s piece, she explores how since her long COVID diagnosis, she has transitioned from meticulously tracking her own symptoms to share with her doctors to seeking joy and finding meaning in the life she has worked so hard to save.

L.A. writer Lil Kalish paints a picture of how they’ve embraced the concept of boyhood and experienced its joy as they wish their child self could have. Boyhood has been lifesaving, Kalish points out, as they grapple with living as a Black trans person in a country with lawmakers who continually seek to destroy trans existence.

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Parents Edward and Bea Stricklan express poignantly in their story how the mental health system has not, for the most part, helped their son with schizophrenia, and instead failed him to the day he was arrested and as he now sits suffering in a county jail cell.

Erica Crompton, a U.K. freelance journalist and author, implores readers to open their eyes and see how they can help their friends, family members and unhoused neighbors suffering in psychosis. It starts with empathy and kindness, Crompton writes.

Lastly, therapist Luis S. Garcia, who serves as a commissioner on the Civilian Oversight Commission, writes how he struggled for years with depression and alcohol misuse but received care in prison that helped him see there was another way to live. He wonders if today’s system has any ability to ensure the same for others struggling with mental illnesses.

Thank you to our authors, and thank you for reading.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly everyone’s mental health. If you’re looking for help, here’s a list of resources

July 15, 2021