As an advocate, I have been given a chance to speak for those that have yet to be heard. I have been given a chance to speak out through my own experience, good and bad, and understand that everyone deserves a chance to become anything they set out to be in life. I also understand that choices have consequences. Until you find it in yourself and put that aside in order to move on with your dreams, you will never succeed in your ultimate goals in life. That is why I’m honored to have a forum that allows me the opportunity to “humanize” the issue of mental health. It has also come to my attention that I needed to give you, my audience, a bit more background about, me.
I don’t consider myself the greatest of writers and worse yet I have terrible time writing strictly about myself. It comes naturally to insert my “background” into the relationship of other people’s issues as a means to identify empathy. It comes a little more naturally for me in a speaking forum where I can read the audience and answer any questions they might have for further clarification of issues that I have either, already mentioned and need further elaboration, or discuss specific issues that I may have unknowingly glossed over.
I’ll start out with some background info that is already written on the about page of my suicide awareness campaign everyminute.org. Some of my proudest moments include speaking to the criminal justice community at the 2007 CIT International Conference with my then wife-to-be Lisa and making great friends with the Blacksburg VA. Police Dept.; speaking at the TBI TIES Training Conference for law enforcement here in the State of Tennessee; and being part of a university research study that measured the efficacy of knowledge-based contact for the reduction of stigma and improvement of mental health literacy in adolescents. Just having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people nationwide while speaking and training other advocates in the art of public engagement has been the best part of being me.
I’ve also been absolutely blessed to have Gregory Montgomery on my team as a National Spokesperson. Some of my other notable endeavors have been accompanying Blue October on their 2010 Pick Up The Phone suicide awareness tour and the Music 4 Mental Health tour with Tommy Edwards. Oh, and who could ever forget presenting at the SAMHSA Voice Awards, which was absolutely nerve-wracking being one of my first “Big Venues” with a crowd of celeb’s and the head of every MH advocacy organization in the US.
Well, like it or not that’s me. I’m excited to be getting back in the game and look forward to being a part of the mental health advocacy arena once again on a regular basis. There aren’t too many people that can say when they wake up every morning that they actually enjoy the thought of “going to work”. I truly consider myself blessed in every way.
Thanks for listening,