UNITED STATES—A lot of people may not understand it, but gosh, when people say mental health matters it really does America. I was beyond devastated I mean just devastated to hear the news about “Extra” correspondent Chelsie Kryst who died on Sunday, January 30 after apparently jumping from her New York City apartment. I have been an avid watcher of “Extra” since high school and I got used to seeing Kyrst on my TV screen each night and in the snap of a second she is gone.

From the outside it looked like she had it all, but looks can be deceiving people, and it just screams that sometimes we never know what a person is truly battling with on the inside. We have no idea as to what is taking place. With that said, it just reminds me so much of the importance of taking care of one’s mental health and seeking out help when you need it.

I will never forget being robbed nearly 10 years ago and how that anxiety placed me into a terrible state of mind. One that I literally could not walk around people without flinching and being on edge it was a terrible feeling. I spoke to a therapist who explained to me that I suffered from a major case of anxiety. One that I knew existed, but I was not certain of the depths until that conversation.

Why so much anxiety? Constantly worried and placing everyone else’s needs above my own. Pressure that I was putting on myself, I sometimes still put on myself, but I NEEDED someone to tell me what I was grappling with to truly understand exactly the battle going on inside my head. Mental health is something not many of us take serious, but it is something we should take serious people because we never know what someone is going thru.

I remember a few years back on Christmas my youngest brother threatened to commit suicide and it tore my soul apart. He threatened having a gun and he just wanted to end his life because he thought it would be better for his children. Scariest thing to encounter because those are emotions you will battle with for a very long time to come America, and even though we got him help and had him examined, that still sticks with me, that “what if.” It is a terrible feeling to have and that worry is something that can really hurt you mentally.

I worry about it daily, weekly, anytime I get a call from my brother it’s going to be news I don’t want to hear because of what transpired in the past. If someone talks about committing suicide it will always worry you, and you question their mental health. What are they dealing with? What are they battling? Hell, sometimes I realize you just have to listen, even if you don’t want to listen to ensure that person knows they are NOT alone. There are people in their court who care about them, who love them and want them to triumph.

Sometimes in life we put too much pressure on ourselves to be beyond great, we cannot always be beyond great, we can sometimes only do what we can do and that is the best that we can do people. I mean why should you have the weight of your job on your shoulders. You shouldn’t, I mean especially if you don’t own a share of the company, take it easy. I keep hearing so many people talk about that when they work from home how they have a cut-off time. No matter what, they stop at this time, the phone goes off, the emails are not answered; they completely disconnect from work to have time for themselves and I wish sometimes I could do that.

I get a text message and I immediately tense up, worried about what could possibly be wrong because hardly ever do I get good news when it comes to work. So I have started to do more to ensure I’m not letting that pressure get the best of me; I turn off my phone if I know I’m not available to talk. Out of sight out of mind, especially when I’m working at my other job! I have to ensure I’m focused on the job that ensures I’m keeping a roof over my head and paying all the bills that I have that are crucial to survival. This is not to say one job is more important than the other, but I just have to focus on having that balance.

People may NOT want to hear it, but it needs to transpire people. You cannot do everything even though you think you might be able to; you have to let stuff go and not absorb that negativity and allow it to get the best of you, it will play with your mental health, your stress level or ability to navigate thru the day and just have that smile on your face. The stress might come from family directly, it might come from work directly, but at the end of the day you have to know YOU MUST COME FIRST ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE! No one is going to put your mental health before you put your mental health in front of you and guess what, if people don’t understand it, that’s their problem not yours.

You don’t always have to explain the situation, you need time to yourself, you need a moment to catch your breath, you need a second to evaluate what is going on and why you’re stressed. Take those moments that you need, don’t feel overwhelmed to the point that you do not seek help if you need it or get help for those who you are worried about greatly. I have pushed my brother to see a therapist to talk about his issues and find ways to grapple with them in a positive way without turning to alcohol or drugs as a way to soothe the pain.

There are so many people when it comes to therapy who believe in the talking cure, I on the other hand believe in the focus on just listening to people sometimes. That listening ear can be so powerful even if you think it’s NOT powerful people. Sometimes people just want to know that you ‘hear’ what they are grappling with. They may not want you to come up with a solution; they just want you to know.

For others, it is indeed a cry for help, they need help and that conversation they have with you can be a deciding factor between life and death. To all those out there, remember you have to put yourself first above work, above family, above friends, above anything. If you know someone or if you are someone who is struggling reach out for help by contacting the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.