What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
On November 30th, 2015, I got the worst call of my life. While I was 5,000 miles away from home in the Costa Rican jungle, my mom called to tell me that my dad had taken his life. The days and weeks that followed were as expected—confusion, dismay, and a lot of questions.
But what came in the months to follow was actually rather surprising. It was a renewed sense of purpose and strengthened resilience. As weird as it is to say, from a perspective of growth, I look back at this time in my life as one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received. Today, still 5 years later, I am able to walk with the confidence that if I can overcome that experience, I can simple overcome anything that life throws at me. While my dad’s suicide shattered me in 100 ways, it grew me in 1,000. I became more empathetic, compassionate, and caring. I dig deep into learning about and combatting the factors that lead to suicide. I joined the board of directors of Lost&Found. And I began a lifelong journey to honor my dad’s legacy.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the secret sauce to what led me from despair to resilience. But what I do know is that it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my friends and family. They were the bridge over the rough waters.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
The greatest resource was my friends and family. I didn’t rely or seek any particular institutions or organizations.
Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges?
To me, it all comes down to having a network that will support you. This can stem from family, friends, acquaintances, or even folks you barely know on social media.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
That there is no single major “source” of suicide. It’s a multifaceted issue driven by millions of different factors. The best way to combat it is through a general approach of building resilience in ourselves and our communities.