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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – #May is #MentalHealthAwareness Month

#May is #MentalHealthAwareness Month.

Each year, #suicide claims more lives than war, murder and natural disasters combined. Local mental health activists are turning their own tragedies into a way to help others.

“You have been touched by suicide, whether you’re consciously aware of it or not,” said Barbara Welty, a health promotion specialist. “They used to say six to seven people were touched by a single suicide, and now they realize it’s more like 18 to 24 people.”

Welty herself was touched by suicide nearly 20 years ago, after a fellow church member’s shocking death.

“We’re all touched by it, but most of us choose not to acknowledge it or put it on the back burner,” Welty said.

That’s why local #mentalhealth activists are speaking up.

“It’s not really something we generally talk about as humans,” said Stephen Gray, chairman of the Michiana Out of the Darkness Walk. “If we don’t talk about it, we can’t prevent it.”

All of the funds from the walk will go to local organizations that provide resources to those struggling with mental illness.

Welty and Gray are working together to break down the stereotypes surrounding mental health.

“It’s just a real misunderstanding of how the body works,” Welty said. “Your head is attached to your body, so if you can break your arm, you can have something get broken in your head. Most of us don’t make that connection.”

Welty said it is important that we speak up and help those around us. Much like if someone slipped on ice and we would rush over to help them, we also need to care for those we notice struggling mentally.

  #JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle



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