I am seeking to make a positive impact on our country’s constant struggle with one of the most debilitating diseases in the world: suicide. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicide claims approximately 30,000 lives in America each year. Over the past four years my brother Ryan had been clashing with the pain of a suicidal thought process on a daily basis. He was but one of the thousands of Americans fighting to preserve the fragile balance their minds. On November 9, 2013, Ryan’s battle ended when he took his own life in the final attempt to overcome a sickness we know so little about. In Ryan’s honor, I will be walking coast to coast to share his story in a nationwide effort to battle mental illness through awareness. Proceeds will help benefit NAMI in their continuing commitment of spreading education, hope, and support to those who suffer with mental illness and their family members.

REMEMBER: If you have lost a loved one to suicide or are suffering on a regular basis with suicidal thoughts, you are NOT alone! Do not be afraid to share your story with others! Your personal experiences and/or association with mental illness will be the key for the future of awareness and understanding. It is not the purpose of my journey to label and say what constitutes a mental illness, but, it is an effort to spark discussion and minimize fear in those who are diagnosed with one. I hope that by minimizing this fear, those who suffer will not feel ashamed of their struggle, but be able to relate with how Ryan felt and come forward to share their feelings so we may better understand the reality of mental illness, what causes it, and how we can treat it.

Post your story Here on the Ianwalksamerica.com guestbook or at NAMI.org

If you feel uncomfortable with leaving  your personal information, you may post anonymously.

2 thoughts on “Mission

  1. I have not had to deal with suicide but have dealt with depression and it’s problems.
    It is a very important issue. I have dealt with my daughter’s depression and anxiety issues to only come to terms with my own. My daughter handled her’s so well, sharing with others and not judging herself and only 17 at the time. When she or other’s I have known have had troubles, I am amazed at how well they handle it, talk and share. But then when it was me, I wasn’t able to even admit it my husband much less my 3 kids. I went to see the doctor for help on the one day I knew my friend the office nurse wouldn’t be there so I didn’t have to tell her. I held my secret for a year, only telling my boss incase of work issues. I am mom, I am the fixer and handler, I am the one people come to for help when life might give them too much to handle so I couldn’t admit to myself, much less others that my life became more than I could handle. I was very hard on myself, still am at times. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word. Bless you on your walk and mission.

  2. I lost my father to suicide when I was 20 years old. When I was 34, one of my best friends. I deeply admire your efforts to spread awareness. I got involved 4 years ago with AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walk in my town of Parkersburg WV. This year will be the 2nd year a good friend and I will be the organizers. It is a small part to play against such a major social issue. God bless you for the HUGE part you have taken on. Good luck to you on your long walk and in your journey in life. Take care.

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