YOU GOT THIS is directed by a New Orleans Musicians Clinic and Assistance Foundation (NOMC&AF) community task force in collaboration with local and national mental health and performing arts medicine advocates to increase access to trusted self-care resources that are confidential, supportive and clinically effective. Our intention is to work with universities, art schools and conservatories to create healthy cultures to support mental health while reducing the prevalence of suicide among our valued creative artists.
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YOU GOT THIS IS Speaking out about the mental health crisis within the creative community.
Countless studies reveal that those endowed with the creative gift are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. With 60 percent of suicides directly linked to severe depression, the problem is clear. Suicide is preventable with early intervention when traumatic life events occur or when long-standing depression is not adequately treated. People around the depressed person need to intervene when ANY indication is given that the person has given up, has made plans to distribute his personal effects or made efforts to acquire the means to kill himself. A suicide happens in the USA every 15 seconds.
Our YGT task force know that those struggling with depression may withdraw from friends and family and make it difficult to reach out to them. Efforts must be made to bring help to those suffering from depression. Concern, support and referral to mental health professionals could mean the difference between life and death.
Kristen Becker, Comedian
YOU GOT THIS Guest Editor Speaks Up about Depression, Creativity and Smashing the Patriarchy
I didn’t realize I was creative until I hit my twenties. I spent most of my childhood playing team sports. I went to practices, learned proper techniques for strengthening muscles and getting the most out of my body. I was taught to practice hard to be the best. If I had an injury, I was reminded of the importance of rest. Playing while injured could lead to long term problems, how would that effect my game? I needed to consider my future.
Athletics are steeped in self care. Growing up an athlete in Louisiana, we stretched. We alternated legs and upper body workouts so as to not wear muscle down. Gatorade and orange slices were their own food group.
Fast forward to a decade later and I’m a comedian touring the country in a 1996 conversion van getting paid in PBR’s and pretty ladies. I found stand up comedy not too long after a career ending sports injury and the rest, is history (a large chunk of which I barely remember). Anyone who has spent life as a performer on the road knows that in the beginning, you live and die by fast food dollar menus, free beers, and your hopes and dreams. There is no creativity coach for us performers. No one pulled me aside and said, “pit stop and grab some fruit and hummus and it’ll be about the same $$ as a Happy Meal.” No one mentioned that my brain is the muscle I need to perform comedy, and I should tend to it a bit. Not one manager at any of the hundred some odd bars I played ever said, “you know alcohol is a depressant, right?” as he was handing my PBR. Of course not! Then he might have to pay me in actual money.
What is my point? My point is that performers must take care of each other. That we need the brilliance of our creative community to shine brighter now than ever before and mental health is a huge part of that. Self care has to climb to the top of the list. Creatives have to understand their worth, which gets tricky in a world that sells $200 tickets to football and artists are “pushing it” to ask for $10 a head.
I’m excited to participate in the You Got This outreach, helping fellow creatives build mentally whole and happy selves through conscientious self care. Then we can go smash the patriarchy. My creative friends are the most passionate and intelligent people we know, and they got that way against all odds. Imagine what we can accomplish at our best?
FACT: 43.8 million adults experience mental illness
1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness.
Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness.
One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, three quarters by the age of 24.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.
90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
TREATMENT IN AMERICA:
Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive mental health services in the previous year.
Nearly 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.
African American & Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about 1/2 the rate of whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about 1/3 the rate.