Among the interesting things William Aprill of Aprill Risk Consulting has been saying lately are some comments he made about mental health and guns on Paul Carlson’s Safety Solutions Academy Podcast (Ep. 444 from 10 October 2018).
One of the challenges of addressing mental health issues, Aprill and Carlson observe in their conversation, is the tremendous stigma attached to being “mentally ill” in our society. (This despite the prevalence of diagnosed mental illness.) Because it is stigmatized, few people want to talk about it. But not talking about it perpetuates the stigma.
Here Aprill astutely observes that one of the lessons of the #MeToo movement is “it is important for people to hear that normal people, that people they know, have been the victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse. I don’t think a MeToo movement about mental health would be a bad thing either. And I don’t it’s wrong to think that people in the firearms self-defense community who have histories of mental health problems that they’ve entered into recovery for [should] talk about them a little more honestly.”
Ironically, I listened to this podcast shortly after I got around to framing a print I bought almost a year ago, after my visit to Haley Strategic Partners in Phoenix.
The print and Aprill’s comments about a #MeToo movement for mental health in gun culture took me back to my conversation with Travis Haley during that visit.
Haley freely admits that he suffers from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, and his exploration of cognitive science — including understanding neural plasticity in the core of the central nervous system — surely has to do with his own struggles. This may be best represented in the Signature Series art work by Keomaka titled “My Fight” displayed in the showroom at HSP.
More needs to be done to publicize stories like Haley’s, and others like his, to help reduce the stigma of mental health issues in gun culture and in society at large.
“But,” Aprill recognizes, “it’s alot to ask because there’s so many people who think negatively about folks who do have a mental health history. But something’s gotta give. Sunlight is the best cure for stigma, but stigma is the thing that crowds out the light.”
NOTE: I am continuing to collect links to the many resources out there on gun owners, mental health, and suicide prevention. If you know of such a resource, please post it in the comments here or the Facebook cross-post of this blog entry.