Success Story - Rob

​​I grew up with three siblings: one a genius, one a prodigy, and one who faced multiple mental health challenges. There was an enormous amount of love and acceptance in our family for those who were a bit different, making it easy for me to see my younger brother as a shy, happy, challenged but brilliant child who could sit outside and have bees land on his hand while he simply enjoyed them. He taught me so much about living in the moment, about simple happiness and a loving heart, and then also about being seen as different and how the world around him reacted.

It was difficult when others would tease him and call him cruel names, and I would always step in as the older sister/protector. The ease with which he forgave or was able to work through those situations and to try to understand others amazed me. He carried no grudges but had a memory that would rival Rain Man, yet was never unkind. So much of who I have become had its roots in being raised with my younger brother - most of all, how a simple smile or kind word, a caring moment, made all of the difference in his mood and how he then faced his difficult challenges.

Over the years, I have reached out and found fabulous organizations to assist Rob with much-needed services. I am currently working with Intermountain Centers, here in Tucson, and Rob is flourishing, even now.

As I look around at this pandemic world that we are living in, I see a rise in isolation and depression that frightens me. I hope that we all take notice of our friends, our neighbors, and reach out and check in. Notice if someone we care about is struggling, engage with him or her, be helpful, smile.

In the bigger picture – we within our communities can open our hearts and break down the barriers that keep those who are suffering silenced. We have that power. Sometimes small acts of compassion and kindness can break down a layer of the stigma that silences, that creates differences and fear. As humans, we all need help from time to time and now, during this pandemic, let us take up that banner and while out in our communities, or at home on Zoom, make the effort to reach out to people who appear to be struggling. After all, you would open the door for someone coming up behind you, you would reach out if your friend needed a ride or make a meal if they had been ill. Why not reach out and lend a caring ear, a piece of yourself, and help others to know they are cared for and that mental health is health, not something different. And remember that there are incredible organizations, like Intermountain Centers, to reach out to, just as you would for a doctor or dentist. It’s about being healthy and we are all in it together!

-Ann Lovell