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 that was the best way to honor him and to promote mental health awareness regularly in our company.
Since that time, I know that by promoting mental health awareness within the company we have legitimately saved at least 3 lives that we know of. It’s changed our criteria for selecting health insurance providers, as back in 2016 we didn’t have very good mental health coverage and now we do, but only because we made it a company focus and emphasis. Our managers are better trained to spot and respond to warning signs, and we’ve greatly upped our game in being a place where mental health issues are not stigmatized nor brushed aside.
Walk for Hope really helps give us a focal point to highlight just how important mental health is to us all. This means a lot to us that you continue to focus on this and raise awareness!