Dedicated to Breaking the Stigma
By: Miriam Ament Forman
October 27, 2014
More than one out of every 100 people who die – die by suicide. That is more people than those who die by car accidents. More than one in four Americans, ages 18 and older live with a diagnosable mental illness. And we know that the majority of them do not seek treatment.
My name is Miriam; I am dedicated to breaking the stigma associated with mental health.
This cause is very near and dear to my heart because, over a decade ago, I went through a major depression. I couldn’t get out of bed, felt helpless, hopeless and alone and couldn’t undertake simple tasks. Together with this, I faced stigma and isolation from some friends and relatives who didn’t know how to handle me nor the situation. I was able to successfully treat my depression with professional help. Last year, through a charity auction, I had the opportunity to go to lunch with legendary actress Glenn Close. I had never talked about my history of depression with anyone who was not already aware of it. She founded Bring Change 2 Mind and was open to talking about it. So, for the first time, I told someone, who happened to be Glenn Close, my whole story. She was amazing to talk to and it was so freeing. I knew from my conversation with her that I wanted to take my experiences and the challenges I faced and be a part of normalizing the mental health conversation.
Shortly after our meeting, Chicago media was buzzing about how amazing Brandon Marshall is – not only on the field – but off the field using his platform to discuss his story and raise mental health awareness. I saw that the Brandon Marshall Foundation was looking for volunteers so I started volunteering and loved being a part of making such a difference in mental health. I told Louie Correa, the CEO, my story and he was so receptive and accepting. I knew I wanted to change my career and devote myself full time to mental health awareness. I received a fellowship from JCC PresenTense Chicago and launched No Shame On U so that no one is ashamed to get help. My goal is: for the people who need the help, to seek it, for family members and friends to know how to provide proper support and for lives to be saved.
Just last week, the Brandon Marshall Foundation, recommended me to WGN News for an interview for a segment they were doing on National Depression Screening Day. For the first time, I talked publicly about my mental health history. It felt amazing. I never would have thought twelve years ago that I would be where I am and have the confidence to speak out. I can’t thank the Brandon Marshall Foundation enough for all of the incredible things they do and continue to do and for the impact they have had on my life. If you or someone you know is going through a rough time please know that you are not alone, there are tons of people who care and resources out there.
Bio: Miriam has a B.A. in American History from Barnard College, Columbia University and an M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in Chicago with her husband, musician David Forman.