2017 has been a turning point for me because it is the year that brought Narratives of Hope into existence as an established nonprofit organization. It is also marks the first time that I have been able to speak and write openly about my experiences with suicide loss, depression, anxiety, and recovery. I will always be grateful for the compassionate, supportive responses I received from friends, acquaintances, and strangers near and far. Sharing my experiences has been cathartic and healing, and brings me hope that this platform will change the lives of those struggling with their mental health, as well as a tool to educate others who may not know these losses or illness quite so personally.
My co-founder Sarah and I first came up with the idea for Narratives of Hope three years ago, and since then, we kept sporadically coming back to our initial vision for this project, finally taking a leap of faith this past July. On August 8th, Narratives of Hope became an established nonprofit organization, and since then, the stories and feedback I have received have reminded me every day of the importance of this work.
Although the stories we have featured have been heavy and real, they have also been hopeful. Our aim is to accurately and authentically convey the depth of these various experiences, to provide a look into the silent struggles, but also to expose the seeds of resilience and recovery that exist amidst this darkness.
We are a small organization, but we are mighty. Our voice and our growth is made possible by those who spread our message, starting with family and friends, and rippling outward. If you have been seeking a way to become involved in mental health or suicide prevention in some way, this is the opportunity for you. If you have always wanted to share your story, but haven't quite been able to find the words or summon the courage, this is the year to change that.
We have powerful plans in store in 2018. We hope to inspire through stories, create meet-ups and workshops, grow involvement through an Ambassador Program, and launch a pilot program to bring mental health education and suicide prevention into schools. We will continue to work alongside Hiking Miles for Smiles, and you can expect some exciting news on their front coming soon.
As we venture into 2018, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge your own intentions for the year. We asked how you plan to take care of your mental health in the coming year, and your answers were hopeful and empowering.
Thank you to the individuals who have shared their experiences so far. If you would like to share your story, the world is ready to hear your voice.
Thank you to my nonprofit attorney and the Narratives of Hope Board. We have come so far in 6 short months, and this work would not be possible without you. Thank you to all who have supported this mission, and for all the kind words we have received.
Here's to love, light, and hope in 2018.
Co-Founder and President