As a father of a 13 year old child sexually assaulted, I experienced first hand the importance of getting help. In 2009, we showed up at the doorstep of For The Child in Long Beach desperately needing help. CalVCB provided invaluable help as we were without insurance during this time due to the recession. CalVCB and For The Child kept my child alive though a suicide was attempted. They gave me the important insight my child was suicidal and how to watch out for signs. The attempt was not successful. Our safety was also issue. For The Child helped us understand the importance of moving to another city for safety which we did. This is why we moved to Bellflower in May of 2010. I share this not for sympathy. I am forever grateful to For The Child and the CalVCB. Both organizations save lives every day. I share this not for sympathy. I share this because this happens daily more than we realize and I am willing to stand up and speak out. The person listening today may be the life saved tomorrow.
Challenge every PTA at every high school to produce a Public Service Announcement about drug use and the importance of a healthy mind. We have very talented high school students. Let’s put their talents, creativity and skills to work in multiple languages. Let’s get these PSAs running on the TV stations many cities have available so adults see and learn. Let’s get these PSAs running on the radio stations young adults listen to. Many of our universities and colleges have their own TV/radio stations. Maybe call the series of PSAs….”In Their Own Words” We could also look to do conversations/PSAs focused on “I beat the 5150. How about you?”
We need on-going direct, blunt conversations with high school students about the impact of drug use and how drug use eliminates job and career opportunities. So many well paying jobs require passing a drug test and too many of our high school students think drug use is okay when it is not. We can not advocate just say no. We have to advocate why.
We need to have discussions in our churches and our community groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary etc about how do we recognize something may be wrong. Too many of our mass shootings occurred by someone who desperately needed mental health help. The more people are aware of the potential signs the more we reduce the potential deadly consequences.
We have Bible study groups. We have Alcoholics Anonymous. We have Gamblers Anonymous. There is no reason we can not have the same about the challenges faced by those struggling with mental health challenges. We have lives saved because someone cared and did something. We for the sake of others need to ask those helped to help us help others. I know many will if we ask them to do a PSA….speak to groups….write opt ed pieces etc.
I have no problem what so ever doing this. For the past several years I have been doing this for sexual assault victims who needed a voice. We put actions in place. You can go to the CalVCB website Media Center section and see “My Story Could Be Yours – Sexual Assault Awareness PSA”. Together we will save a life the moment we decide silence is no longer the option.