Let the conversation begin.
Why Support Hope Xchange Nonprofit in Our Efforts to Reduce Incidence of Suicide? - Personal Message from Kerry Martin, Executive Director & Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Advocate
Earlier this year, after we lost a precious soul far too soon to suicide, I put my cause-marketing consultancy on back burner and became a full-time CEO and mental health and suicide prevention advocate. I cannot stand by and lose anymore.
A Harvard-trained public policy expert, I'm intensely strategic, highly structured and insanely organized, a skill set I now bring to bear on my mission in life: to advocate for the mentally ill and to prevent suicide.
With an interdisciplinary background in technology, strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, business development, cause-marketing consulting,, I'm uniquely qualified to not only accomplish my mission but do so with innovative thinking that has landing gears as well as wings.
I’m also gay. I’m bipolar. And, I’m a three-time suicide survivor. Today, I’m out. I’m proud. And, I’m still alive and kicking. But I used to be closeted, ashamed and suicidal. While I wasn’t diagnosed as bipolar until my early 40s, I have always struggled with depression and have tried to take my life not once, not twice but three times; but, I don't regret it because it gave birth to Hope Exchange, a nonprofit providing community mental wellness programs and services to reduce the incidence of suicide.
Myself, along with my family and friends, have boot-strapped our growth to date and built three innovative, forward-thinking programs to empower those diagnosed with a mental illness and to give them a reason to not only hold onto hope, but to life itself. As we're now slammed with requests for help, we're forced to expand our foundation and shift into a major fundraising mode to ensure we can answer every cry. No brave soul who reaches out should not get an immediate response and the proper support that they deserve.
I believe those with a mental illness diagnosis, regardless of financial means, are all entitled to caring and compassion so that they can rebound, recover and rediscover what it feels like to be hopeful again. No one deserves or should live without hope and without purpose. Everyone deserves to feel of value, to feel worthy, and to feel they have a purpose, a reason to hold on.
Hope Xchange Timebank - A Currency of Hope & Wellness
Further, after working with the mental health community over the past 3 years, I now realize each and every one of us holds the key to community wellness and suicide prevention. And, that we must extend the delivery of mental wellness services into our communities. My second nonprofit, Hope Xchange Timebank, "A Currency of Hope & Wellness," does just that.
Based on the internationally proven model of timebanking, in an evaluation of our Timebank prototype, we hope to show that, in collaboration with local nonprofits in the mental wellness space, we can prevent hospital readmissions, provide missing wrap-around services in a caring and compassionate community setting, empower people to get back into the job market (reducing number of those applying for government disability or getting them off disability all together), and reduce the incidence of suicide by renewing life purpose and restoring hope.
Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Responsibility - If Not You, Who?
I hope you will join Hope Xchange in advocating for those who, through no fault of their own, are not in a position to advocate for themselves and who are in need of our support, whether it be your understanding, love and support, a person to talk to who has walked in their shoes (B2B mentoring program), a community rebuilt on compassion and caring that gives our most socially isolated and vulnerable a purpose - a reason to hold onto hope (Hope Xchange Timebank), or help getting back into balance through weight loss and exercise (Holistic Hope). Please do visit our website for testimonials from those we have helped and to read "Daring Greatly" stories submitted by our community that speak to their own personal struggles with a mental illness diagnosis.
And, I hope you will consider making a donation so that we can more effectively advocate for the mentally ill, continue to develop innovative programs, and thereby reduce the incidence of suicide. If not us, who?
You see without these essential support systems in place, my friends, those living with a mental illness needlessly suffer; and, without these, we lose far too many precious souls to suicide. My wish for this world is that those who are challenged by a mental illness don't suffer and don't take their own lives, because our mental health system is failing them or their families and loved ones have abandoned them. With Hope Xchange, I hope to change that and, with your help, I will.
Thank you for your support friends and I hope you will consider joining us on our journey. For 10 ways you can help our community, restore hope to those living without it and help us prevent suicide, please CLICK HERE.
And, if finances permit, I hope you will consider a personal donation to Hope Xchange as our small team of volunteers is struggling today to answer every call for help and no cry for help should go unanswered. But, we simply can't without your help answer them all fast enough.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do reach out and contact us. Together, we can restore hope and save lives.