1 in 5
U.S. Adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 6
U.S. Youths between the age of 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
It takes an average of 11 years from the onset of a mental illness before that person will seek treatment. We need to remove the stigma.
Our mission is to remove the stigma of mental illness, provide education on mental illness and suicide prevention. We offer resources to those that have lost someone to suicide or who may know someone with a mental illness. We started this organization so we could ensure that the funds we raise are used in our local community. 100% of our proceeds go directly to fund local programs and events. In the past three years, 22 students have died by suicide in Pinellas County and we want to take programs to the youth in their communities.
My family and I started this non-profit, Speak Up: Let’s Talk About Mental Health, Inc. in memory of our oldest son, Scott who died by suicide in 2020 after a ten-year struggle with schizophrenia. Scott was an amazing young man, with his whole future ahead of him. He was handsome, athletic, kind, intelligent and loved. Scott fought a long hard battle with mental illness and our entire family was affected by this illness. We never gave up hope that he would find a way to manage the schizophrenia, but we learned quickly that it is very difficult to find quality mental health care in our country. We also experienced how much stigma is associated mental illness and suicide. Suicide did not kill Scott, mental illness did. We vowed that we would change this in our community, beginning with the youth. There will always be a missing piece to our family, and he will never be forgotten.
Our family never imagined that mental illness and suicide would have such an impact on our lives. On August 16, 2022, we lost another family member to mental illness and suicide. Shelly was my sister-in-law and Scott and Brian’s Aunt Shelly. She was a wife and a mother to two beautiful young women. She held a very special place in our hearts; always the life of the party, infectious laugh, so creative, she made everyone feel special, and so much more. Every time the family got together, we made great memories, a lot of credit for that goes to Shelly. We will treasure those memories and laughs which will help us get through this tragic loss. I know that she struggled with mental illness for quite a while because we shared many conversations about this topic. Her mental illness finally became too strong for her to fight anymore. I hope she knows how much she was loved; by so many different people. I know that Scott and her are sharing some laughs and practicing their Superman dance. She will be missed more than words can say. We will honor both her and Scott’s lives by making a change in how mental illness is perceived and treated in our society.
Hershey's Heart Warming Youth Hero Award
We nominated Grace Thompson for this award for proposal of "I am Enough". This is awarded to youth who want to improve mental health, homelessness, diversity, and hunger in their communities. It is an honor to win this nomination and we want to support her. Grace and her friends will be collecting books that address self-esteem, bullying, and empathy and will be delivering them to a youth center in an underserved area. If you would like to donate a book, you can go to her Amazon wishlist and purchase a book or two:). The wishlist link is https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1LGBSKYO06WVK?ref_=wl_share
Stroker's Pop Up Event for Mental Health
May 11th: "Pop Up" event at Strokers Pool Hall, 30901 US HWY 19, Palm Harbor from 6p-8p, We will be raffling a basket with a value of $200, for a $1 each ticket, as well as a 50/50. All proceeds go towards supporting our programs.
Come and support Strokers and Speak Up.
We have partnered with Mattie Williams Center and will be adding a full mental health curriculum to their summer program. We will be working with K-8th graders. We will be reaching out to other centers also.