By Ben Cupello

Don’t just talk this year, Listen too!

Mental Health affects millions of people. At this time, most mental health illness have no cure. People are suffering, many times alone, regardless of the supportive people around them. Even with the proper treatment, it’s outcome can often be devastating. If you suffer, or know someone who does, then you will relate. Whether a battle with Mental Health hits you all of a sudden, or is a by product of years of suffering - people can become consumed. Consumed by their own thoughts. Sometimes consumed to the point that they can no longer cope. So dark and so horrid - you become its victim. Tragically, many feel they can no longer handle this pain and decide that only way to stop the darkness is to join it.

Last summer the world lost someone very special to the devastating impact of Depression. Her name was Lee. She was so beautiful inside and out. Lee lit up the world with her infectious smile and contagious spirit. She embraced life with a passion for travel and adventure. Lee was determined and strong. She was amazing in every way. Even with supportive family and friends and strong sense of self, her battle with depression became too much to bear. Lee was very open about her struggles and she was getting help from professionals. She fought until the bitter end and was always an advocate for Mental health. Many questioned why? How can this horrible news be true? Why did this happen?
That is how tragic suffering from depression can get. The constant fear of being trapped and not being able to do anything to stop it. It devours people. This fear eats your insides away until people are feeling nothing but empty. That fear is how dealing with a mental illness often feels.

Living with a mental illness, whether you have it, or someone else you love does, is exhausting. Even with the love and support of family and friends - one can become so lost in depression or anxiety they feel nothing but loneliness and despair. The pain is real and often misunderstood.

By this point, you might be asking yourself where am I going with this? Well, what I am hoping to do here is to let people, especially young adults, know we see you, we hear you and and that you are not alone in this battle. I want people to ensure that Lee’s unfortunate passing will serve to help others become more aware. That is what I truly believe she would want. I pray that no matter how bad the illness gets - that no one will ever feel that level of desperation again.
To all those suffering deep inside, pushing those feelings to the back of your brain, the bottom of your heart, please keep fighting. Talk to someone, anyone - ask for help!

Never lose hope. I know from personal experience, it’s easier to say than do - but we want you to be around for a long long time. No matter how distance or bleak your future feels we want you in it. The world cannot lose another Lee.
We just can’t!!

To Lee and her family I pray for you everyday. Lee will be remembered and cherished by all who were blessed enough to know you. My promise is to continue to advocate on her behalf and encourage others to do so as well.

Let’s all use our voices and #speakupforlee 💜