From the Executive Director’s Desk: “I’m Here Learning, Struggling, and Coping with You”

Illustration of a letter with a heart on it coming out of an envelope

An Open Letter from Ebony Tucker

Hello readers! Thanks for finding us here at RALIANCE. Every month on the blog, I’ll be writing a column on topics and issues that help move us closer to a more inclusive and equitable culture free from sexual violence. For the first column in this series, I want to talk about an issue that, during this unprecedented pandemic, is more and more urgent: mental health. And with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, there couldn’t be a better time to check in with each other.

Mental health should always be part of broader health care conversations. But this pandemic has shown us that it’s more important than ever to take it seriously. As a society, we’re largely—and rightly—concerned for our physical health. But taking care of our mental health is just as critical to keeping us healthy. Like you, I’m experiencing a range of emotions – stress, anxiety, fear, and isolation. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ve found that focusing on gratitude, especially for those who are on the frontlines, has helped me find the silver lining in our disorienting new normal.

I’m struck that “first responders” doesn’t just apply to our courageous nurses, doctors, police officers, and emergency staff. It applies to our courageous neighborhood grocery store clerks, delivery workers, and public transportation drivers. And our sexual violence service providers are also on the frontlines during this crisis. 

Rape crisis centers, state coalitions, sexual assault hotlines, and service providers aren’t just offering emotional support to survivors of sexual and domestic violence. They’re helping with basic needs and resources like food, shelter, and financial assistance. They do all of this with limited funding to meet the growing demand, inadequate technology for telehealth services, and the challenge of social distancing while providing legal, medical, and victim services, as our blog series, “Voices from the Frontlines,” shed light on this past month.

Self-care is important for all of us. And it can look different for everyone, as Rosa Beltré of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence shared during our recent interview. It can be overwhelming, but take each day one step at a time.

– Be kind to yourself.
– Pay attention and learn to manage your stress with the help of a self-care webinar or medical professional.
– Take breaks.
– Find things you can enjoy while at home and not working.

It can be easy to feel alone during this unprecedented time of social distancing. But I’m here learning, struggling, and coping through all of this with you too. We’re all in this together.

For additional mental health resources, check out Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Move to End Violence, The Womxn Project, and MeToo.

Thank you for stopping by! Check back at the beginning of each month for more from Ebony.

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