Reprinted from 2017
7 years ago I spent time delivering supplies and working at the water protector camps on Standing Rock Reservation. We brought firewood, clothing, sleeping bags, and food to the camp and we spent the day helping to build, distribute items, cook, clean, and do whatever else was needed.
While we were at Sacred Stones, Oceti Sakowin, and the other camps in the area, we truly witnessed community. The water protectors worked together towards a common cause. These Indigenous People, seeking to protect the waterways they depend on for life from contamination from fossil fuels, united one with another as protectors.
We were there in the days before and even the morning before the water cannons.
While we walked through and worked at the camps, we also saw something else wonderful. The Mental Health tent. There were more than one and the tents were in more than one place in the camps. These places of support, healing, and safety – along the people who staffed them – sought to provide counsel and a safe environment for people living with depression, anxiety, trauma, and more.
I know that many of the people living at the camps were helped by the presence of the mental health workers and the mental health tents. The tents showed the importance of mental health care without stigma. They showed love and support to any and all in need.
Is there a mental health tent in your life?
Kirk Moore is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He's been a member of the Mental Health Network Board and is also a therapeutic musician, playing music at the bedside for patients - to help bring about the relaxation response to help healing. Find out more at therapeuticmusic.org