24 01, 2024


Banks Kaleb and Banks were sitting on the back of the bus, heading to a wrestling tournament. It was so early that it was still dark outside. They were making jokes about being off weight and looking forward to the day. “I thought those days would never end. Kaleb Wright was one of my best friends and committed suicide.” When Banks was a sophomore in high school, he became friends with Kaleb, the senior superstar on the wrestling team. Kaleb was a role model for many students, always present and supportive, making jokes, and serving as a leader. But underneath the joyful, outgoing persona, Kaleb was a deeply struggling teenager. Even as one of his closest friends and teammates, Banks had no idea the grim reality of how much pain Kaleb was in – nor [...]

5 07, 2023


Lily My dad, Jon Williams, didn’t have a bad bone in his body. He cherished time spent with family, he felt pride serving his community as a UNC physician, and he was always mindful of the simple things in life for which he felt incredibly grateful. My dad was selfless, wicked-smart, loving, and hilarious, and he could brighten any room with his unbeatable smile and contagious laughter. The peace he felt from listening to music, eating good food, playing cards, and going for “joy rides” in the car always inspired me, for he could find joy in the simplest of things. Despite his love of this life alongside family and friends, my dad lost his battle with depression in the fall of 2020. He sought help in every way that he could (through therapy, audio [...]

1 03, 2023


Naima This is my why for all that I do – my hope is to encourage others, so I appreciate the very existence of Foundation of Hope. I have a diagnosed mental illness, and others in my family. Sadly, I have a couple of male cousins who died by suicide. As an author of my poetic memoir Pure, I shared poetry of my experience grappling with the fact that I have a mental illness, and I was so vulnerable and open with my story in hopes that it could inspire and help someone else. The Foundation of Hope is an exceptional organization. I love the mission and values. They align with my own, and if it weren’t for my job with American Asset Corporation or the Walk for Hope annual event, I would not have [...]

27 05, 2022


Kimberly For as long as I can remember I felt broken, as if something was wrong with me, and that I was the only one in the world who felt that way. My name is Kimberly Bryant and I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Mood Disorder when I was only 9 years old. I had always felt as if my emotions controlled me. My psychiatrists and therapists growing up always told me my emotions were just too large for my body. I walked through life hating myself and my emotions and how they defined me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally met a therapist who helped me realize that there was nothing wrong with me. My emotions didn’t control me and in fact they were only a small part [...]

8 11, 2021


Jordyn “I didn’t have the tools to cope. My parents tried to help me, but I couldn’t think of any way for them to."Jordyn struggled with anxiety her entire life, but everything came crashing down on her in high school. She became extremely stressed and overwhelmed, with fear of failure and self-imposed pressure to do better. For several months, during her worst peak, she cried every night, constantly focused on everything going wrong, and endlessly envisioned scenarios of what else could go wrong in the future. Then COVID-19 entered the picture, isolating Jordyn from the outside world.“It’s scary not knowing what’s going to happen next.”Jordyn’s family knows all too well what can happen if someone doesn’t get the help they need. In 2015, their world was rocked when Jordyn’s cousin passed away due to suicide. The [...]

11 05, 2021


Tina I spent 30 years in the Navy as a nurse caring for our Nation’s service men and women. When you’re in the military, you recognize early on the importance of your teammates - and no one wants to be the weak link. Caring for our wounded service members, many times in austere conditions, can be arduous and stressful.  America’s military healthcare professionals are always focused on saving lives and as a result, these caregivers fail to recognize their own needs to be cared for as well. As healthcare providers we’re trained to identify the signs of mental stress and illness; we just often ignore it in ourselves to help others. We know all too well the signs of PTSD: anger, not sleeping, self-medicating, marital or work problems, all of which when left untreated can [...]

11 12, 2020


Lissa I stood at the window, looking out on all the uniform buildings surrounding the grey building I am in. Everything looked so dull. I squeezed the bit of skin between my left thumb and pointer finger as hard as I could. I had googled that trick earlier, and Wikihow had informed me that doing this will keep you from crying. I could still hear my brother screaming. I could still feel the room move as he kicked the door. I stood quietly in the corner, wanting to disappear. As the tears streamed down my face, I realized that my thumb trick didn't work. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings and mania. My older brother has a severe form of the disorder, suffering from delusions and dangerous psychosis. He has been hospitalized five times since I was 13 years old. [...]

16 11, 2020


John Our Manager of Information Security, Joel, previously worked at the Angus Barn and always spoke highly of his time there and the commitment to mental health awareness. Tragically, someone on Joel’s team (Bill – a rising star with tremendous promise and only 23 years old) took his own life due to mental health issues roughly 4 years ago in November 2016. As a company, we looked for the best way to honor Bill and memorialize him. We also wanted to promote mental health awareness in our own organization because it was such a surprise and blow to us all that Bill took his own life - none of us saw it coming. Joel suggested (and we all readily agreed) that we honor Bill by participating in the Walk for Hope and we immediately knew [...]

16 11, 2020


Ashley I grew up in a relatively average family. Through most of my school-aged years I considered myself pretty “normal.” But in my senior year of high school, I began to experience anxiety and depression. I isolated myself and just wanted to be left alone. It was difficult, but I thought that going off to college would resolve the issues and get me back on track Once I got to college my anxiety worsened. I had a panic attack my first week of classes. My family connected me with a psychiatrist who proceeded to prescribe me Xanax. I learned fairly quickly that if I had a feeling that I didn’t like, I could just numb it away. I also suffered an injury and quickly became dependent on the narcotics I was prescribed. While I tried [...]

11 09, 2020


Yvonne On June 6, 2018, my daughter – my hero, Michelle, affectionately known as Mickey – ended her life by suicide. She was an incredibly beautiful, courageous and determined woman who suffered daily with endless pain because of her psychological challenges. Over her lifetime, she was diligent in seeking and trying the right course of treatments. Coupled with her tenacious spirit and determination, Michelle worked to beat this insidious disease so she could live a life without the constant battle of psychological challenges that robbed her of that peace. In her final fight—and she fought hard every hour of every day— she was still seeking relief from the ravages of her illness, which resulted in her untimely death. Michelle was never afraid to speak up about her psychological challenges and encouraged those facing difficulties to [...]