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This is the last issue of The Mental Health Update for 2020.
Just like that, the first year of this newsletter has come to a close.
And what a year it has been.
What started as a daily newsletter during "normal times" has since morphed into a 3-day-a-week newsletter during an international pandemic that is ongoing.
And, come next week, it will morph again.
Everyone else will get shortened issues of the Monday and Wednesday emails, which will be sent out on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
This is based on feedback I've collected over the year saying that I should send fewer, high-quality emails.
And it's based on my ability to provide only the most accessible, helpful, and meaningful mental health content I can.
Now on to today's newsletter--and what I've learned about this year-long mental health experiment of connecting with others via email.
Email Newsletters and Mental Health
Email seems like it would be a strange medium to discuss mental health issues.
But, the more I think about it, the less strange it seems.
Because email has some benefits that other platforms, such as social media, do not have.
Here's a fact: email is inherently private by nature.
You have invited me into your inbox. I'm not just some random guy who happened to show up unannounced.
Whether you found me through Twitter, where I first got the word out about this, or through Google or some other source, you had to find me and resonate with the message I was sharing.
And the message I'm sharing with the world is that mental health awareness and the mental health system, as they currently stand, are fundamentally flawed.
For years, I've been writing online, first with a site called Nerve 10, and now with The Mental Health Update, to provide the kind of mental health content I wanted to find on the Internet.
Mental Health Content that is:
- Not condescending
- Filled with real-life examples, not medical jargon
The responses I get to these emails every week have shown me that this kind of content is badly needed in the world.
And what better way to share mental health stories and timeless wisdom than through the intimate setting that is your email inbox?
Your Email and Mental Health
When you allow emails into your inbox, you open your home to others.[/caption]
You see, I kind of feel like my email inbox is an extension of my home.
If you're like me, you hate it when people show up in your inbox unannounced.
Spam is still a major problem in 2020, and that's why I include on my email sign-up forms a promise to never spam. Because I view spamming as not being considerate of people's mental health.
Personally, I take great care to curate what is allowed into my inbox.
I subscribe to the view that you gave me permission to send you emails--and that permission can be revoked at any time.
Seth Godin calls this Permission Marketing.
I call it earning and maintaining your trust.
Because trust is absolutely critical if any mental health solution is going to be helpful or not.
I've had the best results with mental health professionals when they treat me like a human being and work to earn my trust. Almost everyone I've talked to about good mental health care has indicated the same thing, in some form or another.
All healing happens in relationships, whether those relationships are between individual and mental health professional, father and son, or two colleagues discussing life after a long day of work.
And so it goes with my decision to start a mental health newsletter.
It's mass emails, but it's also a very personal approach.
I invite readers to continue the conversation with me, and many of you have.
In fact, a common thread in the responses I get is that it doesn't feel like I'm forcing my advice on others.
In fact, I hate the word advice. Advice implies that I know what you should do with your own life.
And nothing could be further from the truth.
You know your life best.
We just sometimes need that little oomph to get us going where, deep down, we know we're already fully capable of going.
I believe that for you.
It's why I write for hours and hours every single week.
One, because it's a labor of love. And two, because we're all in this together.
I get to share about a topic that I absolutely love--mental health.
And you get to teach me more than I can possibly give.
I mean this.
This is only the beginning of what I feel is a new, technologically grounded, way of discussing and navigating mental health issues.
I sure am glad you're here.
However you found me, I'm glad you did.
May you enter 2021 with hope and good health.
And if you're not there yet, because there are days when I'm certainly not, just know that there are others like you out there, learning to cope and improving their mental health in the best ways they know how.