“Losing my brother a little over five months ago has really had me doing some thinking about my life and others that may suffer with different issues in silence. I’ve spent time praying, crying, and wondering how I can help others, who battle with issues daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. For almost a week every time I’ve prayed it’s like God has been saying ENCOURAGE OTHERS…” Brittany Too-Fly Staley (Facebook-July 14, 2015)
Countless lives were forever changed on February 8, 2015. At the young age of 22, Mr. Jaheir Ford ended his own life. Like so many today, Jaheir suffered from something that is widely overlooked, often until it is too late. Mental illness. The daily struggle is one that most can’t imagine. Though symptoms can be physical, depression is often hard to detect in friends and family around us. Those silenced by the weight of mental illness may find it hard to express what they often don’t understand themselves. Sometimes it is those who seem the happiest and most loved who struggle the most, leaving those left behind to wonder… Why?
It’s easy for us to sweep issues under the rug, especially if it doesn’t affect us directly. That is, until we are forced to stare it right in the face. Brittany Staley wanted to make sure something positive came from her brother’s death. On July 14th, Brittany started the iAmSomebody Movement. This growing campaign seeks to raise awareness about mental illness and in turn, aid in the prevention of suicide. This movement is a voice for those who suffer in silence. It offers encouragement, love and an opportunity to give back to others through an uplifting word, a shoulder to cry on or simply a listening ear. Love, support and knowledge of this very real issue is essential in the daily fight for joy, peace and understanding!
Since its birth, the iAmSomebody Movement has reached many and continues to grow. Brittany posts encouraging messages, pictures and videos on her personal Facebook page, along with the movement’s page, iAmSomebody Movement. We never know who is reading our posts, or who counts on us for a much needed laugh or smile.
On September 13th, the 1st Annual Suicide Prevention Walk/Remembrance was held to honor and remember those who have ended their suffering, to recognize the survivors and support those who continue in the struggle. Meetings are held at a SC high school where students are encouraged to speak openly about what is going on in their lives, including problems at home, bullying at school, low self-esteem…anything and everything. Sometimes all it takes is to know someone cares.
Depression, anxiety and all forms of mental illness are VERY REAL. Signs and symptoms should never be dismissed as “just one of those days.” Don’t be afraid to talk to someone.
Let’s all make a conscious effort to smile at a stranger today. Hold the door open for someone (male or female). Make every day count. Jaheir and many others will live on through the iAmSomebody Movement. Even if only one person has been uplifted or saved by Brittany’s movement, it matters. This movement matters!
If you would like more information, or are interested in purchasing a t-shirt or bracelet, contact Brittany Staley via the Facebook page, iAmSomebody Movement. BE the difference!
There is HOPE.
YOU are important.
YOU are loved.
YOU are somebody.