Have you broken up with mental health stigma?

There are a number of things people say that indicate they hold onto mental health prejudices, many of which they are unaware of.

About four years ago, a friend of mine was talking about multiple psych hospitalizations. Then he realized he had not said it was about his daughter and quickly interjected, “I’m not talking about me, of course, it was my daughter who was in and out of the hospital.”

I responded, “And if it was you, we’d be OK with that because it would mean you had taken care of your mental health.” He froze for a second, … Read more...

Exude a new attitude

I knew a young man
Who taught dogs to dance
and could hypnotize frogs
to go into a trance

Some days he would feel
So blue and so sad
Then the very next day
Stay up all night to play

He was a creative soul
Who was misunderstood
He suffered bipolar
Which is a brain disorder

People called him weak
The hurt was deep
One sorry sorry night
He tried to take his life

People called it selfish
They even got mad
They just didn’t get
He was very, very sad

Then one day a boy said,
“I’ll be your … Read more...

I don’t want to turn down kids

Beacon Tree Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Tom and Diana Leahy for the purpose of supporting youth mental health and suicide prevention. Our annual fundraiser, a cocktail party and youth concert.

The event is Saturday, April 28, 2019 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, VA. Tickets are $50 each. And we need to pack the house because the event is paid for already and all ticket sales and donations go straight to help kids.

We help pay for psychological evaluations and treatment not covered by insurance or medicaid for Virginia youth 21 and under.

Counselors and caseworkers … Read more...

Would Charles be proud of me?

People tell me that. But would he? There are a lot of things I do that I think he’d laugh at. In a good way.

Charles would sometimes make fun of me in a way that was not cruel or mean. It was his way of showing me another side of myself in a funny and entertaining way. And even now when I do some things, I think he is laughing at me like he used to. And then I chuckle and think, “You’re right Charles. I need to get over myself.”

It’s easier to see things from his point … Read more...

Book offers

Laying out the offers for those on my subscriber list. My book will be out in October 2019 and you could win! Some of these offers are repeats but I finally firmed them up for my deserving tribe.

  1. A free, signed advance copy of my book before it’s released to the public for sale (one will be given away)
  2. free, signed copy of the book once it comes out (one will be given away)
  3. Book Club by Zoom. If you have a book club, I will visit by zoom (for those out of town.) For a local book
Read more...

How can I love a dead child?

After my son Charles died by suicide, I had to learn to accept the loss –a brutal and agonizing process. I wondered where all that love I had for my child was going to go since he was no longer with me as a living being.

Somehow I thought I would redistribute that love elsewhere. I do share it more now as a salve to the ache that loss has left. But I have never stopped loving or talking to Charles, which if you saw me, would look a lot like I was talking to the air.

I’ve developed … Read more...

An 11-year-old writes a letter after her father’s suicide

To Suicide

You have torn my family apart
Leaving all with broken hearts
Our hearts still missing pieces and parts.
Tears flows as days go by

I still don’t understand why
I really try not to be sad
I am still feeling bad inside.

This poem was written by an 11-year-old girl who lost her father to suicide. Sara Gaer, a suicide prevention advocate who focuses on first responders and preventing men’s suicide, shared this with me and it’s posted with permission from the 11-year-old’s mother.

Please stop, listen to that gut feeling that something doesn’t sound right. Then ask … Read more...

Integration of Youth Suicide Screening into Pediatric Practice

Turning Research into Real World Practice: Detecting and Managing Suicide Risk in Medical and School Settings

Media Contact:  Anne Moss Rogers FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Baltimore, MD, Month, date- In 2017, 6,769 youth ages 10-24 died by suicide, positioning suicide as the second leading cause of death among this age group for the eighth consecutive year. Previous research has identified that many youths who die by suicide visited a healthcare setting just weeks preceding their death, but were not detected. In response to the rising suicide rates, The Joint Commission (TJC) has recommended that all medical patients be screened for … Read more...

How can I fix it?

He wouldn’t stop.

I had taken away car keys, had discussions with Charles, got an alarm to keep him in instead of an alarm to keep criminals out. I bargained, begged, prayed, researched, drug tested, bought a safe, installed spyware, went to counselors for advice, and did a family outpatient program. Once we ran out of resources here in Virginia, we sent our son away to a wilderness program and then a therapeutic boarding school.

Why couldn’t he just stop? Why was he doing this to us? Didn’t he know he could die doing all the drugs he was … Read more...