“No One Knew, Because I Always Put on A Smile & Played a Song”
As a young man, Al-Qaddir Bettis discovered a love and passion for making music. He makes it look so effortless that you’d have a hard time believing that he suffers from stage fright. At one point it was so extreme, he sought out help to overcome his anxiety. Little did he know that it was the first step of a journey to improve his mental health.
Al had a rough childhood “to say the least,” as he puts it. As a young child, this led to him being taken in and raised by his grandparents.
“It was the first time I felt stability. It was the first time I felt love,” he says.
Bettis was especially close with his grandfather, who had become the prominent role model in his life. When Al’s grandfather passed, it sent him reeling in pain.
It would be years before he realized it was more than just grief. Stigma around being tough, “being a man” or not having enough faith made him hesitant to seek help, but when his stage fright pushed him to do it, he discovered so much more had been going on with him for years.
The journey isn’t easy and there are new hurdles all along the way, but Al knows that overcoming them only makes him stronger.
“It’s going to help you be a better father, better husband, better friend. Setting aside the stigma… sets a good example for my family.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network can help members find an in-network mental health professional by calling behavioral health access lines listed below:
PPO: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ACCESS LINE | 1-800-762-2382
- A free and confidential resource that’s just a call away when you need immediate support. Behavioral health professionals answer, 24/7.
HMO: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ACCESS LINE | 1-800-482-5982
- Connect with a behavioral health clinician if you need help finding a mental health or substance use provider.
- Behavioral health clinicians are available for routine assistance from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For urgent concerns after hours, clinicians are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If you feel that your condition is an emergency that’s not life threatening, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for support at 1-800-273-8255.
- If your situation requires immediate emergency help to prevent death or serious harm to yourself or others, please seek help at the nearest emergency room or call 911.
Learn more about mental health and options you have as a member to seek help at bcbsm.com/mentalhealth.
More from MIBluesPerspectives:
- Eric Hipple Discusses His Mental Health Journey
- I’m a Working Mom in a Pandemic: Why I Can’t Ignore My Mental Health Any More
- Ask a Therapist: Why Are Men Hesitant to Seek Help for their Mental Health?
Photo credit: Courtesy of Al Bettis