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The Power of Kindness

by Michael L. Renner

The power of kindness can not be truly measured. We do not always know how we impact others around us and we would be surprised if we knew how much kindness helps others grow.

It was not my plan it was not my thought
But when the time came it was not for not
I spoke a kind word to a student not mine
I spoke of future and good day wishes divine

She looked at me but could not grin
She looked scared and shattered from thoughts within.
She spent all night not trying to … Read more...

Witnessing Death as a Nurse and Supporting the Family

by Miranda

Death is an inevitable part of a nurse’s career. It occurs not only in hospice care settings where death is an expectation but in many other healthcare settings as well. The circumstances surrounding a patient’s death, the level of experience of the nurse, and their coping strategies are all factors that can affect a nurse’s emotions in profound ways. 

Patient Death Affects Nurses

A study published in 2021 surveyed 160 nurses across four hospital units—emergency department, internal medicine, surgery, and intensive care unit—to assess the impact patient death has on nurses. 

Despite only 11% of nurses reporting “that … Read more...

Memories of Making Hot Sauce with My Dad

by Ava Schrage

My most treasured middle school memories begin with the intense aroma of habanero peppers and pineapple. For most, comfort food equates to mac and cheese or hamburgers, but for my father and me, a touch of homemade hot sauce was a taste of home.

I had memorized all the basics to impress him with my knowledge of spicy foods: where everything landed on the Scoville scale when the best time to harvest peppers was, and what lingers in the membranes of the seeds that create that sweet burn on your tongue.

By the time September rolled around

Read more...

How to talk to someone in despair by someone who has been there

by Kate

Kate was brought up in a cult that didn’t allow medical intervention. She is a person with lived experience who has had suicidal thoughts. For Kate, a big contributing factor to this is her strict upbringing and the conflict that comes that resulted from severing ties with a religion that holds you hostage but also is the only life you’ve ever known.

Do: Listen.  Let them voice their emotions. Ask if they would like to make a list of the things that they need, both large and small.  Do something on it right away.  It will make them feel both cared … Read more...

I can never be good enough for you, Mom

by Jan

Dear Mom, 
I am so hurt and destroyed by your actions, especially in the last few years.

I don’t understand when one of your children tells you how they feel and how destroyed they are that you can be so cold and heartless. I spent my whole life feeling not good enough and never ever being able to make you happy. When I tried so hard. I just wanted you to say one time something was good or “good job” or to feel like I finally did something right.  

Raymond would never do what was asked of … Read more...

I Am Not Mental Illness Ashamed (M.I.A.)

Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

david snell

by Dave Snell

About five years ago I read a speech Wil Wheaton gave concerning his dealings with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety.  More importantly, it was about how he is not ashamed of admitting that he lives with those diagnoses. What troubled me though was he only focused on a couple of particular types of mental illness.  Like cancer, there are many types of mental illness, but we seem to focus on a few of them.  I have had a … Read more...

Child abuse, shame, and recovery

by James

Content warning: Strong Emotional Content.  

I was born in a beautiful little town in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first nine years of my life were wonderful. However, in 1967, my childhood was abruptly ruined by my best friend’s older brother. 

Often, when I would go to play at my best friend’s house, his older brother would be home hiding in the shadows waiting for his opportunity to abuse me. I remember being there and hearing the sound of a door locking and knew I was in trouble. I would get this sinking feeling in my gut, knowing what … Read more...

Story from a Timeboy1408 fan

Timboy1408 video Cosby Gangsta Rap, 2008. Charles and Jacob

My name is Katherine and my friends and I used to watch your son, Charles on YouTube religiously when we were 13. Like every day, we were watching Timeboy1408 and would laugh until we couldn’t breathe.

A lot of our inside jokes were and still are things your son said in those videos. I’m now 25 years old and something made me think about those laughs we had so I went to see how he was doing. My heart broke when I saw that he had killed himself.

Recently, I’ve been … Read more...

Adam Paul Tilton, 1973 – 1993

Beloved Son and Brother

by Andy Tilton

“You are out of our reach, but not out of our hearts and minds.”

Mental Wellness begins with these words spoken out of necessity for a healthy recovery and mental healing:

Dear and Precious Adam,

As your father, I wish to express my brokenness and bitterness over your departure from our reach.

After searching my mind and heart, I am now ready to forgive you for leaving your sister, mother, and me so soon and without a word or explanation.

I have come to accept the fact that your pain was so severe … Read more...

Re-Educated Podcast: Suicide Prevention through Education

by Goutham Yegappan, Data Scientist, Center on Education and the Workforce, Host of the “Re-Educated” Podcast, and Graduate Student, at Georgetown University

What gives my life meaning and purpose that makes the suffering that I currently and will eventually endure, worthwhile? This is perhaps the most pressing question a person must answer at some point throughout their life. For every time we inevitably struggle, our reasons for trekking forward are shaken and thoroughly questioned.

Similarly, with love (episode 25), our education system fails us when it comes to contending with death and meaning. Western education seemingly over-values that which … Read more...

The importance of suicide awareness. We are all more alike than we think

by Tammy Ozolins

I recently watched the movie Dear Evan Hansen and I want to share how I related so much to this movie with my mental health journey.

One of the movie’s characters named Connor does die by suicide and I felt like he suffered in silence. When I was in high school, I had a good friend Brian Rini with whom I was very close. I absolutely loved him, and he was such a great guy. During our college years, he took his own life and it rocked my world.

I was devastated and always wondered why. I … Read more...

Tips for checking into the psych hospital. Checking yourself in or someone else

by Tammy Ozolins

The Mental Health epidemic is on the rise and I know many people of all age ranges are dealing with mental health issues. I know trying to get help can be quite challenging and this unfortunately is a reason why some people do not seek help. The realization of this came true when I was helping a friend who needed to check into a facility.

I have been hospitalized twice in my life due to bipolar disorder. One was for a suicide watch and the other time because I was having a manic episode and had been … Read more...

It’s been 9 years since the last time I saw you

by Cayla Fendick

Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

Cindy Fendick and her daughter Cayla Fendick

You were sitting at the counter at the Park Diner. It was the first and only time you had ever visited me at work, and I couldn’t believe you actually did come. Earlier that morning,

I was at your apartment, like almost every other morning you had off work–drinking coffee. You literally always made the best coffee and I “stole” one of your shirts (I still have it). You said you’d … Read more...

One can never predict the future. Or change the past.

by Liza Sierra

Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

John Michael Carrington, 12/27/1984 – 05/07/2018

At 17, I enjoyed loud music, hanging with friends, and like any other teenager, online chatrooms. One day I got a message from a guy who was 19, single, and from the U.K! I was completely fascinated by him, being that I’m from Texas.

We exchanged pictures, and phone numbers and we both got into so much trouble for running up our parent’s phone bills back then. (Sorry Mom). It was hard … Read more...

Addiction and substance misuse pose a safety risk at work. A personal story.

by Leslie Hanson

“Your mom isn’t answering the phone.  I’m worried about her.  Can you check on her?”  Immediately following this text, my cell phone rang with a familiar phone number. It was my mother’s cousin, Laurie. I knew why she was calling.  Cousin Laurie spoke with my mother daily and routinely called me when she could not be reached.  

Over the years, I came to address these calls with diminished urgency as experience taught me my mother was either ignoring the calls or incapacitated by her addiction to opioids. Cousin Laurie had designated herself as my mother’s keeper … Read more...