As my sister Denise said yesterday, “If Simone Biles never does another thing, she’s done enough.”
Naomi, Serena, You who have battled The Bullies of COVID, You whose grief feels fresh, —- you have done enough. Your mental health is important and you get to stop and rest.
Note to people who are feeling steady and strong: reach out to those who are not.
Mental health is part of human health inspite of those who say things like this:
“We’ve just been told that, with regards to Simone withdrawing, it is not injury-related.
It is a mental issue that Simone is having.” John Roethlisberger of NBC
Demons cause injury. Trauma causes injury. Overwhelming stress causes injury.
Simone Biles is 24 years old. She survived abuse by an Olympic doctor. She is a Black female who grew up in this country. She has sustained injuries.
Someone said to me yesterday that “young people need to toughen up” after I had just told a story about the verbal attack on a young clergywoman by an older male church leader and I was surprised by the comment. Yes, life is hard and we need to be tough. And the voices in our heads of people telling us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, white enough, black enough, successful enough can still injure us.
Simone Biles is no snowflake and neither are those who wrestle with their demons. We in the Church can do better when it comes to supporting those with mental health challenges. We begin by recognizing that mental health is part of human health.
Image source. Note if you are in the Charlotte, NC area: There is a daylong mental health training for pastors sponsored by Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Davidson College Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 from 8:30 am to 3:45 pm ET. Register here.