Tomorrow is WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY! No better way to “celebrate” this than by getting all biblical! Yep, WE – ARE – GOING – THERE!
Had a PHENOMENAL conversation with the Founder of Elijah’s Journey, Efrem Epstein, a mental-health non-profit organization based in the Jewish faith. He told me why he named it as such; because the Prophet Elijah wanted to end his life.
Say what? #NeverHeardThatBefore
I had to do my research. Mind blown. THE ELIJAH. Prophet to Jews, Christians and Muslims was suicidal? He suffered depression? How is this possible? And why didn’t anyone tell me this before? This is seriously some addition to our growing list of mental health celebrities: Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Glenn Close, THE PROPHET ELIJAH
So let’s get some stats…We know nothing about his lineage. Where everyone can pretty much be traced back to their Grandmother’s Aunt’s Uncle’s Cousin’s neighbor, we don’t know who he’s related to so we can’t go with the genetic factor. But we do know the story of him and Jezebel, who threatened to kill him, thus causing Elijah to run off. In his running, he became so depressed, he prayed for death. This is where in the movie we would yell, “STOP! PLOT HOLE.” He ran away to avoid being killed and instead prayed for death? If this makes no sense to you, we get it. But if it does, you know why…mental illness.
Elijah’s thinking was “illogical” which for many, if not all people with mental illness, can relate. He was so disturbed by his cowardice (heck, we’d run from Jezebel too) that he fell into despair. My friends, may I present you with the history’s first “Mental Health Trigger.” Note to self: Jezebel WAS a wicked woman because she triggered the first depression. ARGH!
Yet G-d sustained Elijah and when it was done, Elijah returned to do G-d’s work. And now I get why he’s offered a free glass of wine at Passover…He lived and in turn helped others. He totally deserves a toast! He was doing the work that we in the mental health advocacy world now do today. We help others because we know and understand the value of life. We know help and support are what people need. We give back. Elijah gave back. He is LEGEND…wait for it…ARY (man, I miss How I Met Your Mother. But not Elijah’s mother, because we don’t know her.)
HOW AMAZING IS THIS! One of the most beloved prophets was the first example of mental illness. So the next time I hear someone make a stigmatizing remark of mental illness, we can say “Well, mental illness made Elijah a Prophet. So BOOM. In. Yo’. Face.”