During the month of October I was out and about spreading awareness about mental health issues, such as depression as well as addiction and recovery. As many of you know my story. You know how important it is for me to speak about these issues and break the silence. I have joined AFSP as a neighborhood ambassador which allows me to further spread the message in my neighborhood with materials. I was also preparing for the NYC community walk in my area this month.
I am glad that I was able to culminate this month for myself with this walk. I was hoping to have a large group, but things didn’t plan out that way. However, I was lucky to be able to speak with a group of students (about 15 or more) who were walking, not because they have lost someone, but just because they support the cause and understand how important it is. I was able to share with them about To Write Love On Her Arms, as well as the new collaboration called IMALIVE. IMALIVE is an entirely online suicide intervention hotline which is run 100% by specially trained volunteers and supervisors. I was able to sit down with this group of teenagers and and tell them a little about my story and where I am going from here, and they shared bits of themselves with me too. I am glad to have had that experience. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t belong in this movement because I haven’t personally lost someone, and it is a far different experience to have personally walked the road of depression. But I know there are those who have loved and lost, those who are walking their own journey of healing, and those who just basically understand the pain that others are facing and want to do something to help.
I am thankful for the outpouring of support that I received for this second walk I participated in this year. I was able to reach my personal goal of $500.00. This means that I have raised enough funds for a survivor to have training to help other families who have recently faced a loss by suicide. It feels good to know that as I am walking for my own healing, I am helping someone to reach their own as well.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the moment of these movements, but I hope that our voices aren’t silenced in the months to come. I hope they get louder with every passing day. I hope we continue to speak out against the silence and the walls society tries to put up against these issues. Because there are lives in the balance, lives that need to know that they matter, and that we are trying to make a better world for them.
We continue to walk, we continue to speak and we continue to believe that better days are yet to come.