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May: Mental Health Awareness Month

May, mental health awareness month, is about to end.

I worry about people who are unaware of mental health issues. Their own. Those of their family members and friends. In May and every other month.

Denial. Avoidance. Stigmatization. In 2023, some still claim psychotherapy is for Everyone Else.

Isn’t that nuts?

Oscar Levant, oh, Oscar Levant! Talk about great! If you didn’t know Oscar Levant on Jack Paar and other talk shows and didnt know about his illness, hospitalizations, wit, and piano playing, learn about

him on the internet or from Sean Hayes in the Broadway show Good Night, Oscar. In interviews, Hayes shares how much he loves playing Oscar, because of the mental illness in his own family. Sean Hayes, like Oscar Levant, shows brilliance.

Stand-up comic Gary Gulman reminds audiences they are not alone as he describes his symptoms, 30 years of pill taking, and electroshock therapy in The Great Depresh.

Fortunately, celebrities now tell it like it is. Thank you, Michael Phelps. Thank you to you all.

My family kept quiet about my mother’s illness. It was the 1950s. Mom’s psychotherapy and institutionalization were not accepted topics at PTA meetings.

Five years after her death, I expressed our truth on the page. My New York Times Magazine essay “Out of Reach” was published April 24, 2005. It was my first piece on Mom’s illness and my relationship with her, and it was the springboard for my memoir and play.


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