I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief.
As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.
Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.
I want to present a lot of stories from the tribe at the end of 2019. I’m hoping to get all stories by December 18. You in?
Studies show that telling your story helps move you through your grief. It’s a lot like exposure therapy for PTSD. But those aren’t the only stories I’m looking for.
Are you now in a place where things are going well and you remember a time when it wasn’t? Are you struggling with a child’s addiction? Are you struggling to communicate with a family member who suffers from a mental illness? Is there some … Read more...
This time of year, I move a little slower while every one else speeds up. I annoy easier, struggle to concentrate, and the grief is more pronounced.
This will be my fifth holiday since my son, Charles’, suicide. I’m not mulling over regrets or wondering why I missed the signs.
I just ache.
Even the Christmas carols drain my spirits. What’s more, I resent them. How does one get mad at a bunch of happy, peppy songs? But it feels they are ganging up on me, assaulting my senses and trying to force me to be merry and bright when … Read more...
For the NSA Virginia (National Speaker’s Association) holiday party, Mary Foley (our bada$$ Prez) asked me to interview Brandon Farbstein, a diversity and inclusion speaker who has exploded recently. Local guy is killing it. But don’t think that climb has been without a lot of heartache and hard work.
After a severe battle with cyberbullying in high school, Brandon decided to share his story- to both offer hope and to enact change. He has since helped bring forth 2 bullying prevention laws in Virginia and will be working with lawmakers in DC to implement new policy federally.
What I speak about is often acknowledged as important.
Heads nod, emails are answered and then the, “I think that is Sara’s or Kenny’s area.” Let me introduce you to these five people. And my message just gets drowned out in a sea of emails of “we’ll get back to you later.”
Do I get back? Sure I do. But what I get in response is, “Did you ever talk to Kenny or Sara?” No, they wouldn’t call me back.
Suicide, mental illness, grief and addiction are topics people want to pass to someone else to take care of. Not … Read more...
I touch on the work I’m doing with digital marketing to save lives at a critical moment through technology. I met Sally in person at the NSA (National Speaker’s Association) Influence Conference and we hit it off. If suicide prevention is an important topic to you, please subscribe to Sally’s podcast. It’s very well done and she is a suicide prevention rock star.
From what those with lived experience have told me and what studies show, it goes something like this.
“I’m afraid my mom and dad will no longer be proud of me.” -15 year old male (race?)
“I’m afraid the army will find out and I’ll never get promotions. If they find out I’m seeing a counselor, it will ruin my military career. That’s why I drive 45 minutes to see a private counselor. I don’t want them to know.” -21 year old white male army recruit
“I’m afraid my wife will think I am weak.” -59 year old married white … Read more...
Link to Episode 48 with Alec Lifschultz III. The award winning podcast that was created to break the silence on mental health issues and give a voice to those suffering with host Alec Lifschultz III (Twitter: @TreyBizzy).
I talk about the trauma of having lost a child and my struggles with having suffered from a brain tumor and the aftermath of the surgeries and radiation treatment.