In May 2018, we lost our daughter Elizabeth to suicide. She was 19 years old, about to graduate with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Elizabeth was an exceptionally accomplished young woman with a kind heart and poise. She often volunteered her time helping people in need. While she was battling with her depression and anxiety, she registered herself as a volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Elizabeth wanted to share her story with her peer at high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, ending the silence and changing the attitude towards mental illness.
As parents, we struggled with knowing how to help our daughter, Elizabeth in battling with her illness. We did not have the experience in finding the proper mental health care that was effective for Elizabeth. In the beginning, we believed that we would get the proper medical care that Elizabeth needed and as long as we are committed to recovery we had all the hopes. However, it was an insurmountable task navigating through the mental health care system. The prejudice among the mental health care providers and the incompetence and the lack of knowledge in treating the mental illnesses are common. The societal stigma and ignorance are prevalent.
Inspired by Elizabeth’s strong desire to help others we are committed to carrying Elizabeth’s legacy to end the stigma and shame and help other as she always had done. We feel that the only way to change the trend of today’s culture and stigma against mental illness is through education and encouragement to open up for dialogue authentically and bravely.