This is going to be long. Please take the time to read it carefully and understand all that is being said. When you are done with that, LIKE IT, SHARE IT, and COMMENT ON IT. This will help us so much more than you could ever imagine.
For those of you on my friends list that do not know, have not noticed our posts, or have not put two and two together yet this is your update. This is also an update for everyone who has followed along and given us so much love and support so far. This is an all-business type of update… so please follow it, read it carefully, and try and understand and put these things into practice.
On September 22, 2015, our daughter, Chaney, took her own life as a result of one really bad weekend, and teenage-onset depression which she was trying to handle herself through self-medication, in addition to counseling that we had her in. We did not know she was self-medicating. I really wish we had, because I honestly believe without that medication she had somehow come to possess that she would have been able to see that her problems were not the end and that tomorrow just might bring brighter days.
The aftermath for us in this has been absolute hell. I have had two other issues with family members who made attempts on their life as a result, and I honestly blame myself for one of those. Not directly, but I feel like I did not make myself available enough, or I did not put enough attention where it was needed… and I honestly tried. I put every ounce of attention that I had into this person and ultimately feel like I failed them.
We have started a non-profit organization primarily to do a few different things. One big one is to get people in the field of mental wellness, mental health, and professionals working with depression to come together in a single place and communicate, collaborate, and simply share ideas. This has been very slow to be adopted. I know with AAS2016 going on that most of them are just busy and out of town, but I really want to see this network used. At least an attempt from people to see what it’s capabilities are. It is offered to people working in the fields of mental wellness, suicide prevention, suicide education, and suicide awareness at no cost, with zero advertisements. It is also offered to people who work with children on a daily basis. Primarily educators, church and community organization leaders. Perhaps parents who are looking for answers, or have fresh ideas who have dealt with loss and want to find some way to help. Mental wellness bloggers are also more than welcome to apply for access and get in on this huge collaborative effort. There is no reason we should not be using EVERY resource we have to combat stigma and suicide. Unfortunately, there is competition on the playing field when it comes to preventing suicide, and this needs to stop. It is almost as bad as the stigma associated with mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder, and human equality. I am literally begging those of us involved in advocacy, prevention, education, therapy, and awareness to come together on this social network we have built from the ground up and work together to lower suicide rates around the world.
Secondly, there are numerous institutions in the field offering “education” services. As best I can tell the most prominent is the American Association of Suicidology. I urge anyone in this field to join the AAS, keep up with what is going on with them, and use their programs to learn everything that you can. I am just *WAITING* for the day that we have the money to join their association, and further our own education and experience. I know it will help us tremendously.
Third, we are looking for art. I know so many artists who produce material devoted to mental illness or the creates extreme emotional connections to the observer. Any contribution in any form can be made to us so that we can use those as a donation incentives for our organization. If you are an artist, starving or otherwise, please consider making any material you can spare available to us. We don’t want to sell your work for profit. We want people to be able to donate and receive downloadable digital copies to our nonprofit organization. We do everything that we can to bring those people back to your online sites, stores, and to you as paying customers. We accept any submissions in the forms of videos, spoken word, painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, and music of any style. We have had some wonderful submissions so far… but we need a lot more for part two of this project which we hope to begin towards the middle of next year, and it is going to be BIG, and I hope it is big enough that we can offer something back to everyone who contributes to the project before then.
Fourth, our growth is becoming somewhat stagnant, our followers have supported us as much as they can financially. We need for EVERYONE to share anything and everything that we release. I had these big dreams when I started this organization of “overnight success”. I was drowning in grief and the scope of what I wanted to do and the reality of it was very hard to see at the time. I have since learned that doing what we are is very hard to achieve success in. It is almost impossible to get people to even look at the work we are trying to do and take it seriously. We are “newbies” in the field. We also have fresh ideas, and bring a lot to the table. I am not saying people are not taking us seriously. I speak to people who have been in this field for decades almost every day, from advocacy groups all the way up to people in the government…but when we release something, it is hard to even get them to give it a first-glimpse, much less a second. We absolutely rely on individual contributions and having our message and programs spread. There are no corporate sponsors for us at this time. There are no businesses willing to give us anything because of our organization’s age. There are no behavioral health organizations that will even talk to us. There are no TV stations behind us. It is me, a website I am working on for 12 to 18 hours a day, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and the Working Together social network. We have a few dedicated people behind us, and I/we love every single one of them.
Things are rough for us. I am nowhere near throwing in the towel. There is not even a towel, which for a nerd is hard because according to nerd and geek rules, I am not supposed to forget my towel. It is okay, though, somewhere I have a small towel that says “Don’t Panic” on it. #HHGTTG (reference to: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
Fifth, I am not ashamed to say it. Right now we need you guys, more than ever. We need you to like, share and comment on everything that we post or do. Tell your doctors to visit our page, tell them about the Working Together network. Tell anyone you know that works in the mental health field about it. Give information about it to any mental wellness or suicide prevention bloggers. Send them and suggest they apply. If you are a teacher, work in education or a church send our Working Together network application to people in your institution and GET INVOLVED. IT IS FREE. THERE ARE NO ADVERTISEMENTS. IT IS FULL OF TOOLS TO USE FOR ALL OF US TO COLLABORATE.
We need donations! I cannot stress this enough. They trickle in so spread apart we have barely broken the $600 mark…and most of that has come from 1 or 2 people. We need partners. They can be mental wellness clinics, churches, schools, businesses in your area, politicians… Anyone who carries any weight in the community. They do not have to contribute money. We just need people to help us spread the word and grow.
Sixth, we are looking for contributors. Those mental health professionals, doctors, mental wellness bloggers we talked about earlier can help us greatly with this. We intend to do a quarterly email newsletter, and we are collecting sign-ups for it right now at a pretty quick rate. Our release schedule is tentatively March, June, September, December. Contributors have between now and June to do what they can, and get articles and photos submitted to us. Writing can come in the form of articles, stories, events, anything. The goal is to further education and understanding of depression and suicide and to bring hope to people who are struggling. Businesses can purchase advertising space inside of our newsletter if they wish, but we are not too concerned with pushing that at this time.
If this seems like a negative post, it is certainly not. I am trying to put all of our wheels back on the track after a week of stagnation for us. On average, everything is down for us about 12% right now. Donations are down to nothing. This is NOT a negative thing. We had a rough week, and getting anything done on the six month anniversary of losing Chaney was nearly impossible…but I still got some things done.
We need help. We need to for you to do some very simple things: Inspire hope. Save a life. Join us.