On September 11th of 2009, my life and the lives of all those who knew my son changed forever. In the early morning hours, our 20 year old son, Brandon took his own life. There were no obvious warning signs. Brandon had never been diagnosed or treated for depression; however, he had been drinking a lot more than we realized and also had expressed, on a couple of occasions when he had been drunk, that he "ought to just shoot himself". This was voiced to a couple of his friends. They thought nothing of it. You see, our son had smile on his face 90% of the time. His smile obviously masked depression. I've become a Suicide Prevention Advocate, A QPR - Question, Persuade & Refer Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor, an author of "Turning Tragedy Into Hope" and most of all a person who is passionate about Mental Health Awareness! I encourage EVERYONE to ask for and seek help. I stress that asking for help is a sign of strength - not a sign of weakness. We all need each other and we all need help some times. I can't bring my son back, but maybe I can save someone else's son or daughter by sharing my story. I post daily on Facebook and love to say, "There is always HOPE and HELP and (life no matter how difficult it becomes) is ALWAYS worth LIVING!
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