SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – When baby boomers, their parents and grandparents were growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to talk about mental health.
“I don’t know anyone who goes to see a therapist,” says Marci Luikart.
A hardworking Santa Barbara lawn bowler wonders if her friend’s mental health could have saved her in college.
“I had a friend in college who killed himself,” Luikart said, “so I know there are issues that we don’t know how to deal with.”
Rick Ransom of Santa Barbara said his roommates don’t talk about mental health or sobriety.
“A lot of them could have used some kind of counseling,” Ransom said, “but none of us got counseling.”
It used to be common to go it alone, says Gary Linker, PhD, who serves as clinical director of the Center for Successful Aging.
“To many people, getting help was seen as weakness and you’re not strong enough to deal with it and deal with it. So keep a stiff upper lip, back off, keep moving, ignore anything that bothers you,” Linker said.
Later, seeing a therapist became hip, but only for some.
When Covid hits, some people without social connections feel lonely.
That isolation led to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
A program called Caroline will help.
“We started a program called Caroline where we call people every morning for free, check on them, check on them and make sure they’re OK. Give them a connection to the community,” Linker said.
He said the same person would call, hoping to make a connection.
Older generations seem to appreciate recent youth-led efforts that have reduced the stigma around mental illness and mental health.
“It’s not good to hide or stay silent about this situation, so I think it’s good that we know about it.”
People of a certain age now realize that it’s okay to get help.
For more information, visit http://www.csasb.org