Ned Vizzini might still be alive if he had visited The Artists’ Health Centre, but then again who can say?
I found out today via Google search that the author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story et al, died by his own hand in late December of 2013 (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ned-vizzini-kind-a-funny-667260). It hit me hard. I never met Ned Vizzini nor have I read any of his work though I have seen the film adaptation of It’s Kind of a Funny Story. In fact, I found out about his passing when I was making a list of books to buy for further reading and the first thing that popped up was news of his suicide. It hit me hard because I am a writer and I have had negative, sometimes very dark, thoughts. Ned had the success of which I have been dreaming. He had published books, had film adaptations made of his work, he was married and had a child. Ned had the very life that I am working hard and toward everyday. This is one of those stories that makes you think about your life, but also makes you realize that no matter what we have or want, it might not be what we actually need, or at least the combination of what we need. And by that I don’t mean he didn’t love his career or family, but that maybe Ned needed to talk to someone or do something to help him with his negative thoughts. This is also one of those stories that hit me enough to at least spur action in the form of a blog post but also in my life. And that brings me to:
The Artists’ Health Centre located at Toronto Western Hospital on the 3rd Floor, West Wing @ 399 Bathurst Street (at Dundas) in Toronto. I have not yet taken a trip to the Centre myself, though I’m sure it is only a matter of time. I came to know about the clinic during a hockey of all things. Very Canadian, yes, I know. I was introduced to a writer who was a supporter of the cause and he handed me a flyer and the Centre was the first thing I thought of when I read of Vizzini’s passing, especially by suicide. The Centre is open Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm with the hope of extended hours in the future. They can be reached at 416.603.5263 as well.
The Centre offers services such as: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Group for Artists with Anxiety Disorders, Conditioning for Musicians, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction groups, Primary Health Care, Psychotherapy services, and Support Groups. Please see the full list at their website: http://artistshealth.com/ahc/clinic/.
Mental Health is important for everyone, including those who do not suffer from a specifically diagnosed mental health disorder or disease. It is not just clinically depressed people who commit suicide or self-harm.
Artists, yes we should funnel our emotions (both positive and negative) into our art, but we should also not be afraid to seek help if we find those emotions are having a negative impact on our work and , of course, life.
Never be afraid to speak up and out. And if you can’t find someone to talk to send me message on this blog, I’m here. And if I can’t help, I can hopefully direct you to someone(s) who can. 🙂