Goals for 2017

1. Get Preventure mental health and drug prevention initiative integrated in Virginia schools. 

I need parents to say they want this in our area! Tell teachers, call principals. Deadline is Feb 3 for getting letters from 30 principals. If we can get the letters to get the grant from NIDA, this is the program around which we will treat all mental illness and addiction in the future. Emotional learning and life skills training works. This program will have historical significance.

2. ASQ Suicide Screening

Through Beacon Tree Foundation and with the help of the Chesterfield County Suicide Coalition, it’s Read more...

Educators, we need your help supporting Preventure drug program

This grant has been submitted in Virginia. We got the letters we needed. Thank you so much. We will keep you up to date. If you want updates, here is the link to our email list for Preventure Updates.

In order to see that the evidence-based Preventure Adolescent Drug Prevention Program is implemented here in Virginia, we need letters of support from educators. Directions below. 

To clarify, the letter is not committing schools

A letter shows interest on the part of the school to participate in such trial. The main purpose of these letters is to show to NIH … Read more...

The day I went public

newspaperMany of you know me as someone that went public after my son’s suicide. It was actually prior to that in 2014. 

I know why most of us don’t speak our child’s mental illness because our kids, teens especially, want their struggles kept private. We also worried they’ll get labeled and mistreated as a result. Which is a valid concern. 

In 2014, I had had enough silence.

I can’t remember the circumstances, but I was asked to write an article for Richmond Times Dispatch about our family’s struggle with our child’s mental illness. I said yes. I can’t say I Read more...

Shame

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When Charles first started abusing drugs, we didn’t talk about it. My frustration and fear and fear were the dominant emotions.

Was it drugs or was it mental illness? We did find out eventually that it was mental illness first and the initial drug use was a result of his wanting to feel better, or more normal. Getting to the root of the problem was an enormously difficult process.

I did talk to people I trusted.

I didn’t talk about it to everyone, though. And one time I talked to the wrong person and it somehow wound its way back … Read more...

Presented suicide prevention program to YMCA Leader’s Club

Watching Charles rap the song, "Letter to God"
Watching Charles rap the song, “Letter to God”

I was honored this evening to present my story and my social media based suicide prevention program to the Swift Creek YMCA group in Chesterfield County. Before my very eyes, I saw stigma leave the building. Tosha Frye, fellow Beacon Tree board member, joined me and told her personal story and delivered her message of hope.

I met teens willing to reach out to others. Some of them spoke up and told their stories. We cried and we laughed. They are a very special and diverse group with great leadership. It’s a service club that takes … Read more...

Evil E.D. held my son hostage

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Logan Neale

by Tamara Rollinson

The Woodlake Turkey Trot was in honor of Logan Neal. November 19, 2016, 9:00am-11:30am.

It’s name is Evil ED. ED stands for Eating Disorder.

I declared war on Evil ED shortly before my son Logan turned 16. The disease crept up on him subtly and gradually until it had a death hold on his brain.

Evil ED does not discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity life destroyer. The common myth is only young females have eating disorders. Not true.

Evil ED’s victims are girls, women, boys and men. They are all races. They are high … Read more...

Would you ask someone with a heart condition to pray their way out of it?

praying

You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to pray for more insulin, so why would you ask someone with a chemical imbalance in their brain to deny themselves the medication or treatment they need? Why make someone feel guilty for taking medication that literally keeps them alive and functioning?

The brain, like the heart, is a major organ that sometimes needs medical intervention. Mental illness, addiction and suicide are not moral failings. They are illnesses or the result of one.

Oftentimes, those who suffer depression or some other mental illness are encouraged to pray their way out of it. Still others imply that this was God’s way … Read more...

Facebook LIVE: Coming back to life after a suicide attempt

See this on Facebook (has all the comments)
Important highlights:
  • Recovery from mental illness is ongoing and not always perfect
  • Medication is a customized process that will take time
  • Suicide is the result of mental illness and seeing no other way out
  • For some, medication is an absolute necessity to prevent suicidal ideation and maintain a livable life
  • Family and a support system is vital to maintaining a recovery with mental illness
  • Looking for a therapist? If you can’t get a referral look online for your mental illness issue and then ask the receptionist
  • How do you broach the subject
Read more...

A story of hope: I never thought I would be alive to see graduation

by Carly Stansfield

If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be fighter. Throughout my whole journey I have had to fight day in and day out to find happiness. I have had to fight for the one thing I have always wanted the most, full recovery.

For those who don’t know me, here is my story

I’ve always had insecurities and struggles–the biggest was separation anxiety from my mom.

In elementary school, I remember running to my mom who worked at the school, and clinging to her as my teacher pulled me off. I know now … Read more...

7 reasons I think we are seeing more teen depression

depression-charlesWhen I talk to people, this subject often comes up. Mental illness in teens is on the rise.

Why? Here are some of the reasons I think it’s gotten worse.

1. Lack of Connection

As technology has improved, our lives have gotten busier as a result of easier access. We tend to pack in more than is humanly possible and in trying to get more out of life, we are getting less. It’s always on to the next thing.

Social media and technology have also made us more more “silo-ed” and less social. It’s not as common to see kids … Read more...