As many of you know, I lost my cousin, Tommy Fuss, to suicide at the age of 17, over 15 years ago. It was that event that prompted me to finally speak out and do something. I have suffered from mental illness since I can remember. I never talked about it because of the stigmas that surround it. But that should never be the case! I was lucky enough to have a family who did not subscribe to those stigmas and got me help, but there are many that are not that lucky...and that should NOT be the case. My Aunt and Uncle could have covered up how my cousin died, but they never thought twice about it...it was not something to be ashamed of. There is so much we still do not know about mental illness and a lot of that is due to the fact that we do not give it enough attention due to the stigmas society has placed on mental illness. This is not ok! It's not right! I am so glad I found the AFSP shortly after losing my cousin. I've done both the national and community walks. My participation and reasons have changed over the years from grieving, to healing, to educating, to finding purpose.
WHY WE WALK First, we walk to honor a wonderful young man, my cousin, Tommy, who deserves to be honored and remembered everyday. We walk in his honor to save others from the pain he had to endure. We walk to prevent others from suffering the pain we have suffered as survivors. We walk for all those we’ve lost to suicide. We walk for those who are not strong enough to walk. We walk to create discussion and dialog about mental illness and suicide. We walk to end the stigmas. We walk to show our support. We walk to heal our souls. We walk in hope. We walk to open eyes. We will continue to walk, to save lives and to make lives better! And yes, we walk to raise funds for research and the great programs the AFSP provides and funds. Lastly, we walk for the next generation in the hopes that one day, mental illness will not be stigmatized for those who need and deserve help without judgement.
Please consider a donation to help the AFSP in their research and help of others.
If you cannot afford a donation at this time, PLEASE speak out about mental health and help us end the stigmas!