Dear San Carlos:
It’s time. The last two years have been eye-opening for me. Honestly, I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to act on it. I am embarrassed that it took a pandemic to shine a more illuminating light on it. Finally, I am embarrassed that I have long-time friends and extended family members struggling and I failed to recognize it or inquire further. But, no more. After extensive thought and self-reflection, I am devoting the next ten years in my real estate career to bringing awareness to, and ending the stigma of mental illness.
I have learned a lot over the last eighteen months and two things are certain in our society: (1) our mental health is at an all-time low. Depression, anxiety, stress and many very serious mental illnesses are pervasive and getting worse; and (2) even in 2022, there is still a stigma attached to those who are waging a war against their illness every hour, of every day. Many who are in better health wonder why those affected simply cannot “get over it” or “toughen up”. It is time to get beyond the unintentional ignorance of those responses. The other important factor to recognize is that those suffering from mental health issues are not of a particular socioeconomic class, gender or ethnicity. Many struggle privately and fear that they will be viewed as weak or perhaps be talked about poorly if their issue is known.
It’s time. It’s time to evolve and view mental illness the same way we view physical illnesses. We have to learn to protect our mental health the same way we protect our physical health. We likely live in one of the most educated and progressive areas of the world. We, as a community, can lead this fight by setting the example. I realize that I am fortunate enough to have a large platform in San Carlos. It is time to put that platform to work for a cause that goes well beyond real estate.
I spoke in detail to several doctors and therapists leading the charge against mental illness in San Carlos and our surrounding community. They are overwhelmed. There is not enough help. Not enough support. Not enough money. One of the scarier thoughts for me is thinking about those who desperately need mental health support for themselves or a child, but cannot afford the support they truly need. One therapist told me that the number of children in our own San Carlos Schools suffering from some degree of mental illness (mostly depression and anxiety) is at a level that would shock the community if it was truly put on display. Our community does not have a backstop and too many are falling through the cracks.
I am planning on attacking mental illness on two fronts: (1) ending the stigma with better awareness; and (2) financial support for those who need it most.
All of my sites, including the San Carlos Blog, and all of my For Sale signs around town will now proudly display a green ribbon. For those unaware, the green ribbon is regarded as a symbol of hope and awareness for mental health. Next, for every home I sell in San Carlos, I will contribute $2,000 per home, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year to One Life Counseling Center in San Carlos. OLC is at the forefront of this fight and they are worthy of your support. I hope you will join me in this fight.
San Carlos, it’s time.