On Saturday I read the The Globe and Mail and was taken with a line written by Elizabeth Renzetti about journalist David Carr, who passed away on Thursday evening. She wrote about his ability to see the good in things, saying, “What I loved most about his writing and I fear is irrevocably lost, is his embrace of the flawed and the cracked, nuance and complexity over the rush to judgement.” Admittedly, I did not know that much about Carr’s work, but I do know that he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction from which he recovered. He worked hard to bounce back and became a highly successful media specialist at The New York Times. Perhaps Carr’s own experiences were a significant contributor to his ability not to judge; however, regardless of experiences, we all need a nudge every once and while.
This article and the poignant paragraph quoted above were timely for me. On Friday, 19 members of our St. Clement’s staff took part in a Mental Health First Aid training session. The two-day course, provided by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, has been excellent thus far. It, too, has reminded me of the risks of judgement. One line on their business card stands out: “Mental Health problems are not character flaws.”
Our students have been very active in working to lessen the stigma associated with mental health, and while I work hard to do so as well, the combination of events this weekend reminds me about not rushing to judgement.