On Tisha B’av, every member of the community should recognize the challenges and experience the pain of someone living with depression on a daily basis. And just like on Tisha B’av — where we come together in community to show our support for one another — we should remember to be there for anyone living with depression all year round.
By Rabbi Sandra Cohen: I can’t recall when I first started feeling depressed or when the waves of self-loathing began. But by the time I was a teen, my inner life was a mess. The more competent I seemed on the outside, the more I was hurting inside. Low self-esteem gave way to clinical depression, anxiety and on-going, intense suicidal ideation. How, I wondered, couldn’t people see it?
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is a primary treatment method for anxiety (National Institute of Mental Health). It involves discussing one’s worries in a directed manner with an expert to relieve anxiety. While “talk therapy” is practiced currently, Jewish tradition has long recommended a similar approach to alleviate mental distress.
What exactly does it mean to be an ally? Is saying you are an ally enough? Are you required to take a more active role in order to be considered someone who supports a particular community? If so, what are you meant to do? How do Jewish Mental Health Values teach us about being an Ally?