By Deena Baxter
Originally posted here

The Naples Daily News published a Guest Commentary by Deena Baxter on May 25, 2015. It shines a light on NAMI-Collier’s H.U.G.S. Program, honors National Mental Health Month, and is a tribute to her friend and their children who died from mental illness. Click here to read the commentary, or read on for a short excerpt.

“After struggling for many years from crisis to crisis, we lost our youngest adult son to suicide, death by mental illness. I called Kate with the news. After a short pause, she said, “I’m just waiting for a similar call.” That’s how I learned the dark secret she was too ashamed to share: a 10-plus-year nightmare of her daughter’s substance abuse and poor life choices.

Subsequently, our shared experiences included the extent to which our children were suffering from undiagnosed mental illness and its frequent companion, self-medication/addiction, and the destructive path this cut through the heart of both families.

Less than three years later, she did receive that call: like our son, Kate’s daughter gave back the gift of life.”


Click here to read the full article.