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.
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