Do you remember learning that life saving drill? You were in Kindergarden (most likely) and you learned that if you caught fire you were to: stop, then drop, then roll. As far as crisis go; Physically being on fire is a pretty big one. I loved to practice the drill as a child. This could be because they made a game out of it in gym class to help teach us the drill. But what’s important is that years after Kindergarten, in any state in the United States you can look at someone and say “Stop, Drop and Roll” and nine times out of ten they are going to know what you are talking about.
It’s obvious that stopping is the first critical component during most crisis. Usually at this point we are not thinking nor are we behaving rationally. Are you picturing a man running around in circles on fire right now? If we want to get to any of the other steps (potentially lifesaving steps we must stop so that we can think about what is needed)
It’s time to surrender to the fact that we need help (even if by the floor). But probably be others as well. By dropping we are preparing for the work. Without preparing the work cannot be done and we just as soon could have stayed standing and running around. Dropping symbolizes a commitment to put the fire out.
Roll and roll and roll and sometimes more rolling. Rolling is the part where you put everything you have, energy, time, focus into the task that will save your life, prevent more injury and burn, and/or the spread of the fire. The rolling can be physically and mentally draining. But after you stop – after you drop – you roll your heart out.
(What they didn’t teach you in kindergarten.)
1. Figure out what caused the fire.
2. Figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
By this point I hope you’ve figured out that I’m not talking about physical fires. This post is meant to take dealing with mental health crisis situations and put it in a framework that we are all familiar with. I’m hoping that you can use it yourself or you can share it with someone you might benefit from it. As long as mental health continues to be foreign concepts and hard to conceptualize and awkward and scary and filled with stigma, people are going to suffer silently, suicide rates will remain high as well as addictions and undiagnosed disorders; which lead to a plethora of physical aliments.
So, Stop. Drop. & Roll.
My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand