"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare." — Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light, 1988
September is National Suicide Prevention and Self-Care Awareness month. National BRAVE Day is observed on the last Friday of the month too, serving as a reminder for women to seek strength in one another.
Thus, we celebrate the late and great Audre Lorde, who defined intersectionality well before the term was coined. She was so many things — a writer, activist, lesbian, feminist, who published 18 books from the 1960s through the 1980s. Ahead of her time, we credit Lorde as one of several Black women who formed the concept of self-care.
At some point, you've put someone else's needs above your own. It's natural — but if not managed, is a detriment to health. For Lorde, self-care was as important as food, shelter, and water. It was necessary sustenance to function and sustain a life of service, rejecting consumerism. That's the takeaway. Self-care is for everyone and is unique to you! It can look like self-compassion, setting boundaries, building routines, asking for help, or something completely different.
About 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. If you or someone you know needs help, here are 2 underutilized local resources:
1. ECMC Help Center Behavioral Health Outpatient Center — Free urgent care services for walk-in mental health treatment, accessible 365 days a year from 8:00am to midnight. The Help Center also has virtual visit hours Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 9:30pm. Call (716) 898-1594 or visit their website.
2. Mental Health Advocates of WNY — Provides pro bono legal services, peer support groups, information and referral service, child and family support, emotional skills training, prevention and early intervention, and workplace mental well-being. Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Call (716) 886-1242 or visit their website.