In February 2012, our family was struck by a tragedy that should not have occurred. In an instant, we lost a husband, father, papa, son and friend to mental illness, a disease that is not easy to speak openly about, despite affecting one in four adults in America. The stigma associated with mental illness is a large part of why our family was unable to find the right resources and receive the proper help that was needed.
Through the concern and support of so many wonderful friends, and our community, we have realized how many people have their own similar story to share. The hope is that our Foundation’s efforts to promote mental health and reduce the stigma make it easier for someone to recognize when a member of their family, a friend or someone in our community doesn’t seem right and to show concern. Our goal is to provide a tool box of resources to share with them. And while we know that no one circumstance is exactly the same as another, we hope to be able to provide a wide range of resources that can be utilized to help find an answer or identify the proper help and support.
This is not just our issue, it is a human and societal issue and we ask that you all become part of our community effort to help each other by sharing your stories, contacts and input. In helping someone else you might even find that you have helped yourself just as much.
So while we cannot undo our family’s tragedy, we can do our part to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and change our story from “IS not easy to speak of” to “WAS not easy to speak of.”
With much hope,
The Merrell Family