Director's Corner
It's Normal Not to Be Okay.
By Claire Louge, Executive Director

Think about a time when you went through something hard, and you went to someone for support. Was their response supportive and helpful?
If it was, it's probably because they expressed empathy: They acknowledged that what you were going through was hard. That acknowledgment is the doorway to moving through tough emotions and tough times. It makes you feel more seen and less alone. It makes it okay not to be okay.

One thing I have appreciated about this pandemic era is that it has become normal not to feel okay. Our collective experience, in many ways, has given us the opportunity for empathy because we're all going through something hard. Although some have it much harder than others, the shared experience makes it easier to relate, to empathize. When we normalize that life can cause overwhelming stress, our struggle isn't considered a character flaw or a judgment on our worth; it becomes an understandable reaction to our circumstance. It becomes an opportunity for support.

Normalizing stress is also a key to preventing child abuse. Most child abuse and neglect is a result of overwhelming stress experienced by parents and caregivers. When we make it okay not to be okay, we're creating a culture of non-judgment and support, opening up the doors for parents to ask for help when they need it, and that is where prevention happens.