What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
I am a three-time suicide attempt survivor. Due to a military sexual assault and two molestations shortly after, I got PTSD and felt I couldn’t live with myself. My first attempt cost me my military career. My second attempt cost me my first marriage. My third attempt cost me my family for a long time. After that, I worked on my trauma through therapy and support groups. I am now co-founder and president of Empire Mental Health Support here in Sioux Falls. I owe it to the VA for understanding PTSD and military sexual trauma. Today I want to live. I have grandchildren I want to see grow up, graduate, get married, and have children of their own. Suicide is the furthest idea from my mind. I am worthy, therefore I must live!
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
SMART Recovery, NAMI, and Empire Mental Health Support.
Think about the system that affects our mental health in our society, including aspects of it that are damaging to mental health and aspects of the system that improve mental health. Based on your experience, how might we improve that system to build resilience and better address the mental health needs of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities?
Using mental illness against criminals during mass shootings instead of criminal behavior. The truth is people with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves rather than harm others.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
That people can never just “get over it”!