#Moving Forward – What Does That Mean To Us?

When we started this amazing adventure, the JC Runyon Foundation, in 2010, I never could have imagined where it would go and just how fast it would get there. We’ve intentionally kept an open mind to ideas and the movement of the mental health community to see just how this small idea we had could make a difference in the world, whatever that might mean. As I have traveled the country meeting people in the behavioral health industry and who’ve been affected by a behavioral health care issue: suicide, addiction, PTSD, depression, diagnosis of some kind, etc; I’ve learned that people are more than ever willing to share their stories. What a change that is!

I grew up working in my dad’s office. JC Runyon (Jack) had a small private practice in Paducah, KY. It was one of the only practices around in the 80s, when going to your therapist was “in vogue”, but only in the most shallow of terms. Nobody really talked about it, it was a big secret and I learned quickly to hide in the back office when one of my friend’s parents or family members were scheduled to come in so they wouldn’t  be embarrassed. God forbid someone admit that there was a real problem! People just said things like, “Oh my aunt has a personality disorder,” or, “I want to cut back on my wine a little,” or, “My parents are in marital counseling.” So I kept my mouth shut and tried to fight the stigma whenever I could. But the reality was that people were suffering in silence and shame. Now we understand that there is nothing different between sharing that your mom has breast cancer or bipolar disorder. It’s not something that she did to cause the disease, so why suffer alone and in shame?

Fortunately, we are living in a time where people are much more open to sharing the truth about their suffering. Maybe it’s because of social media, maybe it’s because of a few brave pioneers who have been public with their struggles, I don’t know. Maybe it’s both. We as a society have definitely been #moving forward, and breaking the stigma!

Another reason we celebrate #movingforward is because  a family member’s suicide, or PTSD, or addiction is not the end of your story. Mariel Hemingway is our 2015 Person of the Year because she has been so forthcoming with her struggles to #moveforward. If you haven’t had the chance to watch the 2014 documentary Running From Crazy – watch it! It’s on Netflix and it is why we chose her. Imagine living with such a public legacy of suicide in your family. It’s hard enough to live through one. My mother’s father committed suicide when she was only 11. The legacy of his suicide affected my childhood as well. I learned to never use my hands like a gun to my head, I learned that August 10th was always going to be a tough day for my mom, I learned that it was the worst thing you could do to your family. It shatters lives and leaves ripples for generations. Even my children understand the impact it had on our family, 2 generations later. So for Mariel to have lived through not only her grandfather, a smattering of uncles, but also a sister, and be able to #moveforward is a miracle. She has been helpful to people across the country by just showing that you CAN SURVIVE, THRIVE and it’s NOT THE END OF YOU. You can #moveforward, but it’s a choice.

The kids to whom we award scholarships are #movingforward from addiction, psychiatric disorder, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and debilitating depression. But they have tackled their burdens and made the decision to #moveforward. The JC Runyon Foundation awards this decision by providing the money needed for college. We don’t want the burden of health care costs to be the barrier that holds anyone back.

Do you want to learn more about us? We will be awarding @MarielHemingway the JC Runyon Foundation 2015 Person of the Year on March 21st at our 2nd annual Night in the Garden Gala at the Botanic Gardens in Memphis, TN. She will share her story and will be signing her 2 newest books (which won’t even be released to the public yet) Out Came the Sun and Invisible Girl. We have a limited supply of each book, so reserve yours today if you want one, only $30 each. Trust me, this is an event you won’t want to miss! Email me for tickets today! We are selling out!!!! nshaheen@jcrunyonfoundation.org

Click 2015invitationinsert for information on how to get tickets or buy a book.

2015auctioncatalogYES.pdf for a preview of the silent auction items and raffle!

So from 2010 to now, the changes we’ve seen are tremendous and are something worth celebrating. So to answer the titles question, what does #movingforward mean to us? It means everything! Keep #movingforward

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Scholar Spotlight – Nicholas

Nicholas began his journey with mental illness in middle school when his intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors began to impede his life. He began having panic attacks that ultimately required hospitalization. Once he finally receive his diagnosis, he was able to learn how to manage his behaviors and impulses through a variety of therapies and […]

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