May is Mental Health Awareness month, but what in the world does that have to do with the Mandalorian Mercenaries Costume Club?
Well as your friendly local MMCC club member and Licensed Mental Health therapist, I will tell you. This club is made up of people all over the world who are trying to live their lives the best way they can, and as a world wide community of people, everyone faces their own individual battles with things that occur within society as well as within themselves. The MMCC has taken upon itself to be more vocal in support of such social struggles that their community is facing. Many of you may remember Autism Acceptance April from last month and how the club responded to outreach from the Autistic community regarding how they would like to be represented and supported by organizations. The MMCC listened and responded with an amazing Sigil color shift to show their solidarity with the entire Autistic and Neurodivergent population.
So here we are in May, about to kick off Star Wars week with another Sigil color makeover as well as cover photo change that has been set across all MMCC social media platforms just like with Autism Acceptance last month. In addition to showing support for the Mental Health community by saying loud and clear “You are not alone”, the MMCC would like to remind everyone that #FamilyIsMoreThanBlood, and what we mean when Mandalorians say you are not alone, is that you have members and foundlings affiliated with this organization that are here for you. Clans and Strongholds local and abroad have an open door policy regarding communication, if you want to ask questions, get help building, talk star wars, they are just a text away.
Does that mean that they are equipped to assist you with your Mental Health needs? No, not necessarily, that is the purpose of this post. Linked here are international resources for you to be able to access should you find yourself in need of someone to talk to about internal matters that go beyond finding a seamstress to make your flack vest. It is not a weakness, shortcoming or something of shame to ask for help. A person who can humble themselves to the point of admitting that they don’t have everything under control and seeks assistance is stronger than any force in the galaxy. That person is making the choice to make their life better by accepting the help another is ready and willing to give. There has always been a stigma towards not only asking for help but against individuals who struggle with mental health issues. Big or small, no matter, they have been viewed in the negative. It is a sad and ridiculous thing that needs to change. All people have a right to be safe, healthy and loved. Their individual struggles hold no bearing on their quality or worth.
It is hard to know for sure if someone you love is struggling to the point that they need to seek professional mental health assistance. One way of knowing is checking in with them. Not just your friends and family that you think “might” be having a hard time, check in with all of your people regularly if possible. An unfortunate truth is that due to the stigma and the weight of the galaxy on their shoulders many people put on a smile and push through the pain to hold everything together and prevent being a burden to others by coming to them with their problems. However if you are simply mindful, and reach out in kindness to those around you, you may learn more than you expected, and you may become that life line that keeps that person grounded because you gave them the resources that they needed to finally feel relief.
On a personal note, in terms of the relationship between MMCC and member mental health I have to say that my clan and this club play a vital role in my own personal support system. Working on builds is a great coping skill to help focus your mind and push through negative thoughts while creating something positive to show for your hard work and concentration. Having a clan of folks who care to talk to anytime, who have become my family is an invaluable resource. Being able to go on invasions, escape my daily life and be that Mandalorian warrior to bring smiles to Star Wars fans of all ages is something I do not take for granted, as it brings me so much joy to help others in this way.
Other members have shared with me stories about how helping Clan foundlings build their kits have helped them cope with their stress and anxiety. Several members who have seen combat and struggle with PTSD have explained to me the significance of making their kits, problem solving challenges with upgrades and the immense happiness they get from interactions with children during invasions.
It may seem silly at the end of the day. Us so called grownups running around wearing bondo fused plastic, getting their mental health needs met through coping skills learned accidentally from making costumes based on a fictional sci-fi culture. But here we are, one big weird happy Mandalorian family doing our best to make our way through the galaxy, TOGETHER.
This website breaks down Mental Health resource contact numbers by countries all over the world.
United States information:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.