Why I Stride by Rich Roberts

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Jas_HS_FBFor his entire life Jason was a fun loving popular kid who always made those around him feel good. He was caring, respectful, creative and active in sports throughout his life. Suddenly one day he seemed to just hop in his truck and drive out of childhood off to college with a promising life ahead of him.

On a beautiful spring afternoon he sat soberly in his dorm room and wrote, "I'm sorry I've failed you Pops". A few hours later I received a call he had taken his life.

We can only surmise Jason suffered from a form of hidden depression. He had fooled himself so well he fooled those who loved him too. There were no signs or if there were we didn't know what they would be. Months before he died he told me, "Pops, I'm the happiest guy in the world".

There is nothing we can do for Jason now but there are measures we can take to prevent what happened to him from happening to others.

Depression is an illness of the mind that can be as sly and evasive as a cancerous cell developing in tissues deep inside the body. The "stigma" associated with mental illness prevented me from saving my son. I knew nothing of depression. I didn't want to know nor did I feel I needed to know or so I thought.

My son didn't fail me. The stigma that restricts openness in communicating and learning about mental illness failed him, which is why I will participate in Strides Against Stigma. Join me, and register your team today by visiting www.StridesAgainstStigma.org.

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