Editor's Note: E Pluribus Unum
This is our first editor’s note but I hope to use them to communicate why we do what we do at the JCK Foundation and express our deeper opinions on issues surrounding the mental health movement.
Brian Halloran was a Pleasantville High School student who took his own life in January. A talented cornerback who was known to give the best hugs, Brian had the spark that C.G. Jung described as “anything but a tabula rasa.” Meaning the mind is born with innate knowledge and ideas — the opposite of a ‘blank slate’ or the idea that all mental content comes from experience and perception.
Brian’s family and friends pledged to find a way to remember that spark, which culminated today, June 10th 2018, with a walk to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention. Our Founder, John Tessitore, was privileged enough to address the attendees with a video that you can watch here.
The irony isn’t lost on us that so many this week within the mental health movement are discussing celebrity suicides and how we can or can’t honor them if we don’t first honor all the ‘normal’ people that commit suicide.
There's a lot wrong with all of that but I’ll concede it’s a thin line. Our Social Media Director works in fashion, I’ve worked in countless restaurant kitchens and have a healthy habit of traveling on the cheap. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were giants in this world, any way you cut it. They also demonstrate a valuable concept in mental health that was accurately highlighted in the movement’s response — no matter what’s happening on the outside, internal storminess has the potential to develop just below the surface, and it can be deadly.
Honoring both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain is good for the mental health movement. Period. If our ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between sufferers and non-sufferers to the point where we accept not the concept of mental illness, but the concept of any mental health disorder as a spectrumed disease in which we all suffer to some degree, then we must build the largest tent with the mightiest legs we can because “just as the body has an anatomical prehistory of millions of years, so does the psychic system.” And from 1999-2018, suicides in the United States have increased every single year. So have cases of diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health disorders across the board.
Building a big tent for the mental health movement includes highlighting events that are relatable to a large number of people, such as the ones I describe above. But more importantly, it requires the diverse world of social entrepreneurs to bring that awareness, education and storytelling to local communities across the world. That’s why the JCK Foundation has taken the time to help towns honor the Brian Halloran’s of the world and want to continue to honor an RJ Buada or a David Kinard — two students who took their lives before they graduated from my alma mater, Bellport High School. One of which had my sister as a teacher.
Honoring a ‘normal’ person’s legacy was why the JCK Foundation was started in the first place. To honor John Cleaver Kelly, another kid blessed with the spark of wholeness but buried with the heavy burden of psychological progression. We’re all born with millions of years of human evolution imprinted on our souls and before Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade began their celebrity immortalization, someone saw the spark of wholeness in them. Them being us, us being them. E pluribus unum.