The Most Unfathomable Loss
April 27, 2022
Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 young people, but two-thirds of those who need treatment do not have access to it. Lack of access to supports can have a serious and lasting impact across all areas of a child’s life.
Leaving children without support contributes to school drop-out, unemployment, and involvement with the juvenile or criminal justice system. In addition to loss of short- and long-term opportunities, there is also loss of life with suicide as the second leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 24 (Mental Health America).
Discussing Mental Health Was Uncommon
Board member, Donna Jones, grew up in a time when mental health was not something openly discussed. She recalls that it was seen as something shameful, uncommon, and something you did not seek out help for and that it was a condition in which services were rarely available. If services were available, however, they were not accessible. Over the years, Donna recalls how this led to people in her life that self-medicated with drugs and alcohol to cope with their mental health concerns.
Good Mental Health IS Important
Donna shared that she did not realize, nor was she able to acknowledge until later in her life, the vast importance of good mental health. She confidently believes that if mental health had been openly discussed and de-stigmatized, that she would have seen these individuals thrive, instead of struggle, with untreated mental health concerns.
Later in life, Donna experienced the most unfathomable loss. Something no parent or person should have to experience. Her teenage son, Logan, died by suicide.
“Logan was extremely strong and brave as he sought help for his depression. He did not feel shame and was willing to be open and honest about his struggles. He even gave a speech in school about it,” shared Donna.
Even though Logan’s story ended too soon, the fact that he was able to speak up and help take away some of the stigma surrounding mental health care gave Donna the drive to continue his fight.
“Logan will live on through me and my passion to help youth overcome their struggles with mental health.”
When Donna was approached to be a board member for Snow-Redfern Foundation, she believed it would be an amazing opportunity for her to work collectively to help positively impact her community around youth mental health.
Prevention, Early Identification, and Access to Services
We know that most people who will develop mental health disorders experience symptoms by age 14. Identifying these early signs and providing appropriate supports can improve the child’s life, mitigate worsening symptoms, and improve mental health in the future. According to Mental Health America, three universal strategies should be used to combat this serious issue: Prevention, Early Identification, and Access to Services.
We are honored to have Donna serve our community and help make a difference in fight to improve mental health services and supports.
Help Donna and Snow-Redfern Foundation to honor Logan and positively impact communities by creating awareness about children’s mental health related issues.