A number of us have begun work on a pamphlet/online text which seeks to offer advice to those who suffer from depression. While the bulk of the text is complete, we’re still looking for submissions from those who’ve dealt with depression, how it’s affected their involvement in class politics, and what strategies folks have found useful for managing mental health in general.
It’s no secret that depression is common in the class struggle community. Coming out of a libcom discussion thread, we realized there was a need for a simple text to which those who are suffering from depression could be directed.
The initial idea was to write up some basic tips and then include accounts from others who've face similar emotional stress. The accounts would be honest and would, again, include tips and advice dealing with depression as a politically active individual.
As the conversation grew, however, we decided to include a section giving advice from a worker in the mental health industry. We have even included a short section designed to start a conversation within anarchist and class struggle groups encouraging them to proactively look at the issue of mental health within their ranks. So, if you’re part of a group or organisation which has sought to address mental health issues, we want to hear from you, too.
Submissions can be as personal (or impersonal) as you want. Although most submissions so far have been 500 to 1000 words, there is no minimum or maximum length. We may offer suggestions for clarifications or additions, but you will always have the final say on what’s published. Additionally, all submissions will be kept totally confidential and anonymous.
If you, your group, or anyone you know would be interested in submitting an account, please PM me or send an email to fleurlibcommie (at) gmail.com
Also, if anyone has leaflet layout skills and would be interested in helping out, please let us know!
Finally, we’ve included a short included a short excerpt from the text so folk have a bit more of an idea what we’re trying to accomplish.
This piece of writing comes out a series of discussions which occurred on the forums of libcom.org. It was repeatedly raised that depression, mental illness, and emotional stress are very common amongst libertarian political activists. Furthermore, suffering from mental illness as someone who is politically active often comes with its own set complications. Sometimes the wider anarchist/activist community is supportive and helpful. Other times, we can feel just as alienated amongst fellow anarchists as we do from the rest of capitalist society.
With that in mind, we’ve attempted to offer some advice on what’s generally helpful in dealing with depression, anxiety, and overall mental stress. From there, we have a number of personal accounts exploring the intersection of political activity and mental health. We hope readers who suffer from depression can identify with them and that they may prove helpful in both providing support and in helping to develop strategies for staying healthy.
Following that, we have a series of links (some anarchist, some more mainstream) that we hope will be helpful in a crisis situations or if you’re just looking to see how others have approached these same questions. This is followed with an account from a radical health worker, giving tips and advice for navigating the mental health system and ensuring your voice and your rights are respected by the medical establishment. Although the account is written from a specifically British context, we hope the gist of the advice will apply regardless.
We conclude with a short section on dealing with mental health issues in class struggle organisations. This is far from exhaustive and, in fact, is more a series of suggestions that groups might consider in formulating a policy and practice of addressing mental health issues and supporting members suffering from depression, anxiety, and overall mental health.
We don’t, however, want to pretend for a second that this pamphlet is a substitute for professional medical advice. While we’re critical of certain aspect of mental health treatment, if you’re suffering from serious depression or considering hurting yourself, please speak to someone immediately.