Speaker’s Forum

Welcome to the Speaker's Forum. We welcome mental health and wellness professionals and writers to be our featured Blogger of the Week/Month. Maximum word count for submissions is 750 words. Contact us here if you are interested in being featured.

To comment on a blog post, click on "comments" below the blog title.

Honoring Mental Health Month & Motherhood

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Happy Mother’s Day. “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” ~ C. Meymillos

May is Mental Health Month— a great time to focus on mental mending. Why should you care? Because you or someone you love could be among the 1 in 5 people affected by mental illness in their lifetime. NAMI cares: We’ve got your back. You are not alone. 

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#NAMICARES: We listen and build community. We’ve been there; we understand. We lead the conversation. Mental health conditions should be treated like any other health condition. That’s why we lead the nation in calling for more research and better treatment. We educate and provide support. Knowledge has the power to heal. We advocate. We’ve felt the sting of stigma and discrimination. That’s why we pursue justice, equity and opportunity, particularly for those with the greatest needs.  

ART IS ON OUR MIND – PAVING PATHWAYS TO HAPPINESS

The goal of Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee is to give children the best possible start in life through education, literacy, social-emotional development and school readiness programs, and to provide support and opportunities for parent involvement in their child’s development. 

In the words of Pathways Center Director Michelle Blackmon, “We were honored to participate in a mental health art project with NAMI Collier. Creative play and emotional resilience are important components of our educational philosophy. I led this highly interactive art project for our older children and designed it as a teachable moment—talking with the students about healthy ways to express their feelings. I incorporated the lesson into all four of our Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) classes. The Pathways family was very fortunate to have BUCK – I – SERVE Volunteers from Ohio State University, assist us with this amazing project. The Ohio State students worked with 37 VPK students, ages 4 to 5 years old. The theme for the project was, What Makes Me Happy. We took each child’s individual piece of art and wove it together in a huge creative art installation that includes this quote, “Friendships Are Like Pieces Of A Quilt Stitched Together Tightly With Friends”. It radiates positive energy; the parents love it and it brings smiles to the entire Pathways community. Click here to view more of the project artwork. 

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Friendships Are Like Pieces Of A Quilt Stitched Together Tightly With Friends

ART IS ON OUR MIND –  MEET THE CCCR BIG IMPRESSIONS BY LITTLE ARTISTS  

Collier Child Care Resources’ (CCCR) 2019 “Big Impressions by Little Artists” Project launched in January, with a series of talented local artists creating original, expressive art with the children, ages 2 to 5 years old. This year, four local artists— Paula Brody, Nalin Isme, Marvin Rouse and Marcus and Marcus Zotter— collaborated with the children at all four of CCCR’s early childhood development centers in Collier County, FL. The artwork was in the artist’s signature style, which introduced the little ones to new styles of art, new mediums and lots of fun! Art has a major role in the educational philosophy CCCR uses for early education. Click here to meet the artists and view more Big Impressions By Little Artists.

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THE ART OF HEALING – WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our creative arts website galleries, as well as mental mending blog articles on our website Speaker’s Forum.

NAMI COLLIER “DOINGS”:  The Warm Line: Instead of a “Hotline” for emergency clinical services, the WARM line is a statewide, peer-run service for individuals in search of a connection with someone who has lived experience in mental health recovery. The Warm Line connects callers with a Florida Certified Recovery Peer Specialist who listens with the understanding and compassion only a Peer can provide. Callers are not required to disclose any personal information that causes discomfort to share. CLEAR Warm Line – Call 1-800-945-1355. 4:00pm – 10:00pm EST, Seven days a week, including holidays.  

MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS: We are grateful to the following supportive media organizations that help amplify our messages:

Broken Minds Deserve a Voice – Guest Essay
Click links to read articles: Florida Weekly Bonita Springs and Naples Daily News Guest Commentary

Building Pathways to a Beautiful Mind Takes a VillageOld Naples News & North Naples News Magazines published an article about NAMI Collier programs and services in their March 2019 editions. Click here to read the article.

Time Eat Sorrow – Mental Mending Guest Essay 
Click links to read articles, March 2019Naples Florida WeeklyNaples Daily News, The Banner and Fort Myers News-Press

Helping our Children Friend their Fears Guest Essay Click links to read articles for Mental Health Month, May 2019Fort Myers News-Press  Florida Weekly Naples, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs editions.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “If I refuse to take a nap, is that resisting a rest?” ~ Jenny Murray

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ADVOCACY PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.

Here are some upcoming presentations. 

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Time: 3:15pm – 3:30pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Lived Stories Series 
Presenter: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835This is a closed event.

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NAMI Collier County, FL – Building Pathways to a Beautiful Mind

Thank You to Old Naples News Magazine & North Naples News Magazine for publishing the following article.

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A Mental Mending Valentine – February 2019

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Healthy hearts and minds working together – that’s our Valentine’s Day wish for you. 

MEET THE COOKS – Comfort Food for the Soul.   Megan Cook Vincent has lived life at the extremes, touched by trauma, death, courage, resilience, determination, faith, miracles, the unconditional love of family and the kindness of angels. In 2005, she miraculously survived a horrific car accident but was left with permanent brain impairment and paralysis on the right side of her body. She has undergone numerous cranial surgeries plus grueling physical and cognitive therapy over the past 14 years in an effort to rebuild her life and regain a level of independence, starting with the basics – learning how to walk, talk, control her movement, and try to regain her memory. Her journey has been blessed by more than 100 caring angels – her parents, Naomi and Jim Cook, her college sorority sisters, and most of all her childhood sweetheart Peter Vincent (now her husband) and Peter’s mother. Yet through it all, Megan is determined to reach her full potential. “I don’t give up. I don’t even say ’why?’ I just don’t think about the negative. I think about the positive. I can’t look back, I have to keep on keeping on and look forward to my next obstacle,” she says.  Megan and her older brother, Jim Jr., shared a mutual love of art. But three years after her accident, her brother died by suicide. Many other families would have been broken by such tragedies, but one thing Megan has never lost is her optimistic outlook on life, her determination and faith in human kindness, and her love of art. We are honored to showcase works by Megan and her late brother, Jim, Jr. Click here to see more of what’s cookin’ at the Cooks! 

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THE ART OF HEALING – WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our creative arts website galleries, as well as mental mending blog articles on our website Speaker’s Forum.

ANNOUNCING NEW SUICIDE LOSS PHONE SUPPORT GROUP:The Kevin’s Song Phone Support Group is a safe, confidential place to help those who are healing from suicide loss of a family member, friend or colleague. This peer-facilitated group encourages callers to share helpful tools they are using to navigate through loss. It is ideal for those unable to attend an in-person support group and is open to those living locally, nationally or internationally. Meetings are the first and third Wednesday of the Month, 7:00pm – 8:00pm (ET). Contact WriteOnMyMind2@gmail.com for more information. 

NAMI COLLIER “DOINGS”: 
Steps of Hope: Saturday, February 16, 2019, Cambier Park, Naples, FL, 8:00am – 11:00am. Please join NAMI Collier County (FL) along with Grand Marshall Jonathan Bates, President of Addicted To Fitness, Inc., for our 17th Annual NAMI Walk. NAMI Collier is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals affected by mental illness. 

Give Where You Live: NAMI Collier is a proud partner of the 2019 Give Where You Live Collier giving challenge. Just 40 local charities were selected, and each will receive a proportional share of the matching fund based on how much they raise. Your support will benefit our Tommy August Memorial Emergency Care Fund, addressing barriers to mental health care. Starting February 20, 2019 at Noon, 24-hours online at GiveWhereYouLiveCollier.org. $500,000 Matching Fund.

MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS: We are grateful to the following supportive media organizations that help amplify our messages:

Give Broken Minds a Voice on Mental Health Committee, by Deena Baxter. 
Thank you Florida Weekly and Naples Daily News/USA TODAY.  (Click on links to view articles.)

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?”  ~ Anonymous

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ADVOCACY PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.
Here are some upcoming presentations. 

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
Stephen Ministry New Ministers TrainingNaples, FL 34103
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena BaxterTopic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”  This is a closed event * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Time: 3:15pm – 3:30pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Lived Stories Series 
Presenter: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835 This is a closed event.


Merry Mental Mending Greetings – December 2018

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May the joys of the season shed light, hope and fill our hearts with peace. We are stronger together: You are not alone.

ANNOUNCING NEW SUICIDE LOSS PHONE SUPPORT GROUP: The Kevin’s Song Phone Support Group is a safe, confidential place to help those who are healing from suicide loss of a family member, friend or colleague. This peer-facilitated group encourages callers to share helpful tools they are using to navigate through loss. It is ideal for those unable to attend an in-person support group and is open to those living locally, nationally or internationally. Meetings are the first and third Wednesday of the Month, 7:00pm – 8:00pm (ET). Contact WriteOnMyMind2@gmail.com for more information. 


HOPE SHINES BRIGHT:
More than 250 community supporters attended NAMI Collier’s 12th annual Hope Shines Luncheon on December 7, 2018, featuring guest speaker – author Zack McDermott. Zack and his mother, Cindy Cisneros-McGilvery, shared their personal story of Zack’s fight to regain his sanity and successfully manage his mental illness. Additionally, five honorees were recognized for their role in helping NAMI Collier realize its mission and deliver vital mental health programs and services at no cost to more than 16,000 Southwest Florida residents. Click here to view event photo published by Florida Weekly.

  • Commissioner Andy Solis was awarded the NAMI Collier Impact Award for his leadership addressing the gap in county-wide mental health and substance abuse resources, and defining the strategic plan to make those resources available, affordable and accessible.
  • Steven Pulizzotto was recognized as the NAMI Collier Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Officer of the Year for his dedicated service with Collier County Sheriff’s Office. 
  • Lindy Thomas was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to NAMI Collier, including a decade of fundraising efforts, board membership and advocacy. 
  • Patricia Pike received the NAMI Collier Spirit Award for being the driving force behind NAMI’s Take Two boutique operations, which brings profits to NAMI to help support the mission.
  • Deena Baxter was recognized as Advocate of the Year for promoting life-affirming mental wellness as part of “The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project”, a partnership project with NAMI Collier. 

THE ART OF HEALING – WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our creative arts website galleries, as well as mental mending blog articles on our website Speaker’s Forum.


Ally’s On Our Mind…We like to check-in with our creative artists from time-to-time to see how they are doing. Recently, we re-connected with Maria Alejandra (Ally) Diaz Currea, the talented artist who inspired the logo for our project website – www.WriteOnMyMind.com. Ally is in the final stage of earning her undergraduate degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Universidad Externado de Colombia, in her homeland, Bogotá, Colombia. Currently she is doing an exchange program in Mexico City, which she hopes to complete in 6 months. When she has time, she still enjoys drawing and painting. Here’s a peak at some of her artwork and culinary adventures in Mexico. Click here to view more of her update.  

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Celebrating NAMI Collier’s Sarah Ann Center Poets: We are honored to feature prose by Kerri Fitzgerald and Carl Dean Smeed. Click here to read their stories.


MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS: We are grateful to the following supportive media organizations that help amplify our messages:

Suicide Loss Day brings Mental Mending, by Deena Baxter. 
Thank you Florida Weekly and Naples Daily News/USA TODAY.  

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not Included.” ~ Anonymous

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About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes mental health and suicide awareness outreach and advocacy; a book on suicide loss, and a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI Collier County, FL. Click here for eBook information. Hard copies have sold out on Amazon but we have a few for sale at NAMI – contact deenabaxter2@gamil.com. The book has been endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS), serving active and veteran military personnel and their families. 

ADVOCACY PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.

November 10, 2018: Survivors Day, Kevin’s Song Conference on Suicide,
Plymouth, MI. The Survivor Panel was moderated by Deena Baxter and
included a diverse panel of suicide loss survivors and an attempt 
survivor. They shared their personal journeys of loss and how they
navigated through the challenges, dealt with the shame and stigma of
mental illness, and created a “New Normal.” 
Click here and scroll down to view more about this event.

November 17, 2018: FGCU/AFSP 2018 International Survivors of Suicide
Loss Day Conference. The annual event opened with an impactful
documentary created by the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention
(AFSP), titled: “A Daughter’s Journey.” The Survivor Panel was an in-depth
exchange of insights from three women journeying through their own
suicide losses and the impacts of mental illness, addiction and stigma that
preceded those losses. Deena Baxter was a panelist. 
Click here and scroll down to view more about this event.

Here are some upcoming presentations. 
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Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
Stephen Ministry New Ministers Training
Naples, FL 34103
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”
This is a closed event
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Best regards,
Deena Baxter, Whitney Stromayr and Team NAMI Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project
Email: deenabaxter2@gmail.com
Website: https://www.writeonmymind.com


A Time to Honor Suicide Prevention – September 2018

This week we shine a light on World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-15). This is a time to recognize and thank those who are working tirelessly to address this “Silent Epidemic”, including our first responders and media partners. This is also a time to showcase young artists from Child’s Path CCCR and project volunteers from CarMax who raise our spirits with their creative artwork.

THANKS TO OUR FIRST RESPONDERS 
We are indebted to our courageous first responders and honor them. We expect so much from them: We have made their jobs harder by not providing easy access to effective mental health services for those in need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is among the critically important organizations working tirelessly to fill that gap.  

When state and federal mental hospitals were shut down in the 1980s, it wasn’t because mental illness was cured. Many of these patients became homeless. Today, many are warehoused in prisons. YOU can make a difference. If our legislators aren’t supporting mental health funding, they are part of the problem. YOUR VOTE MATTERS!

MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS 
We are grateful to the following supportive media organizations that help amplify our messages:

Mourning, A Journey In Progress, Moves Along With You by Deena Baxter. 
Thank you Florida Weekly. Click here to read the article.
Thank you Naples Daily News/USA TODAY. Click here  to read the article. 

Learning From the Darkness and the Light by Deena Baxter. Thanks to èBella magazine  for publishing this article in their July 2018 issue. Scroll to next blog post to read an online version of this article.

May 2018 Is Mental Health Month – A Time for Whole Health by Deena Baxter
Thank you Florida Weekly. Click here to read the article.
Thank you Naples Daily News/USA TODAY. Click here to read the article.


THE ART OF HEALING – WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our website galleries as well as mental mending blog articles for our website Speaker’s Forum.
We are delighted to showcase Eye Candy Delight from Child’s Path Early Development Center Collier Child Care Resources. This project, “What Makes Me Happy”, offers alens into the inner world of one to five-year-olds and the simple things that bring them joy. All the children from Child’s Path, a CCCR Early Childhood Development Center,were guided by volunteers from CarMax Naples to illustrate what makes them happy, and the result was a colorful mix ranging from birthday cake to the beach! This projectand the volunteers that helped them are wonderful sources of encouragement and social bonding that are so crucial at this stage intheir young lives.Collier Child Care Resources (CCCR) is a non-profit organization that provides partial tuition assistance for high-quality early childhood care andeducation toworking families that struggle to afford childcare. Click hereto view more of the Child’s Path artwork.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE:The next time your wife says, ‘Why do you always have to have the last word?” — don’t answer her. ~ Dan Piraro

ADVOCACY:Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcomingpresentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her atDeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.
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Surviving Suicide - Searching For Normal with Heartache and Humor
About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes a book, a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com, outreach presentations and advocacy. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI of Collier County, FL. Click here for eBook information. Hard copies have sold out on Amazon but we have a few for sale at NAMI – contact deenabaxter2@gamil.comThe book has been endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS), serving active and veteran military personnel and their families.

UPCOMING PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS 
 Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. To view a summary of past presentations and photos, click here.
Here are some upcoming presentations. 
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Family Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018 
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
WISE Event hosted by NUCC Stephen Ministry Program  
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dr. Sara Griffith Lund, author, “Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness In Our Congregations, in Our Families, and In Ourselves” 
Deena Baxter & NAMI of Collier County, FL, have been invited to attend. 
This is a closed event
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Saturday, November 10, 2018
9:30am – 11:00am: Survivor Panel, Deena Baxter, Moderator
3:00pm: Closing Event led by Deena Baxter  
The Silent Epidemic 2018: A Conference on Suicide 
Hosted by The Kevin’s Song Foundation
The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth MI 48170
For more information, click here click here.
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Saturday, November 17, 2018
Conference Time (Not Confirmed): 10:30am – 1:30pm
Noon – 1:00pm: Survivors Panel – Deena Baxter will be a participant
FGCU/AFSP 2018 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Conference
Florida Gulf Coast University
Benn Hill Griffin Hall, Room TBA
10501 FGCU Blvd. South, Ft. Myers, FL  33965
Open to the public. Registration required.
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Saturday, February 16, 2019
Time: 10:30am – 11:45am (Not confirmed)
Naples United Church of Christ
Stephen Ministry New Ministers Training for NUCC 
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Nelson Hall, 2nd floor, room 207 (Not confirmed)
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”
This is a closed event
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Best regards,
Deena Baxter and Team NAMI-Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project

Website: https://www.writeonmymind.com


MIND COLORS – From Dark to Bright

MIND COLORS – FROM DARK TO BRIGHT 

By Deena Baxter

If you survived puberty and entered adulthood mostly intact, you’re fortunate: One in four people emerges like Picasso’s Tete d’une Femme Lisant, intimately familiar with the dark spaces of their mind but often lacking the ability or resources to find the light.

How can we help? We can start by working together to keep our community safer and welcoming for those living with mental illness and brain disorders as well as those who aren’t.

The Cost of Denial: For too long, society has ostracized and discriminated against those living with mental illness and done so in measurable ways. Florida consistently ranks near the bottom for mental health funding. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute ranked Florida 51st out of 52 for total state mental health spending per capita, behind 49 states and Washington, D.C. and ahead of Puerto Rico. Only recently did that change, due to the public’s demand for action on the opioid overdose epidemic and student advocacy on mass gun violence in Florida and beyond. We can use our voices and our votes to advocate for more funding for effective mental health research, programs and services.

Awareness & Support: Mental illness does not discriminate: It affects up to 25% of the population, regardless of color, creed, religion, age, fortune or fame. In spite of media hype, people suffering from mental illness or brain disorders are far more likely to be bullied and harmed than to harm others.

There are several local and national organizations that can help those who are experiencing mental health challenges, plus support and awareness training for caregivers and the community. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, offers an array of helpful programs and services, including Mental Health First Aid, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for first responders, recovery focused support groups, support groups for family/caregivers and friends, H.U.G.S. early intervention for children ages three months to 18 years old, and the Sarah Ann Drop-In Center where adults with serious mental illness find a welcoming, safe, and supportive place to engage, socialize, and build life skills. In 2017, NAMI-CC provided innovative education, support and advocacy services at no cost to over 16,000 individuals.

Meaningful Connections: As I’ve traveled across the country as a mental health advocate, many people have shared their inspiring stories. These courageous teens, adults and seniors are embracing life, successfully achieving goals, and refuse to be defined solely by their mental health challenges. They have taught me invaluable lessons. The greatest gift we can give is to treat people with dignity and listen and validate where they are, or have been, in their life: The act of listening to understand instead of listening to respond.

By “listening deeply” I’ve learned that some people lack the vocabulary to articulate their pain, their grief, their frustrations with life, and what they need. The most compassionate thing we can do is to listen and not jump in, assuming someone wants something cleaned up, made smaller or swept away. Sometimes, people just want to share the truth of their own experience.

Grief author Megan Devine calls this, “A deep act of love and respect.” After listening, it can sometimes be appropriate to ask, “What do you need or want? Can I do anything to help you?” rather than say, “This is what you need to do.”

Many strong and resilient people have made peace with, and befriended, their dark side. Some have done this successfully with therapy, psychiatric medical procedures, psychotropic medications, a healthy lifestyle, and/or meditation. They no longer fear the dark. Perhaps we would all be healthier if we celebrated both the light and the dark. The Rev. Laura Randall encourages us to, “Trust that there is value in absence as well as abundance… We can learn from the darkness as well as the light. In fact, we need both.”

Take Aways: The right words at the right time can make a big difference. “Stay a little.” This is what Shakespeare’s King Lear implores his beloved daughter Cordelia as he drifts into madness. Sometimes, just making that connection can provide a lifeline and save a distressed soul. If you or anyone you know is suffering in silence, please reach out to NAMI-CC now (http://www.namicollier.org/). We can help you get out of the darkness and find the light.

Toby Mac said it well: “Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.”  Stay a little. Stay a lot. Life is worth living. Someone needs you tomorrow. We want you to be here for them.

Note: A version of this article was published in the July 2018 issue of èBella magazine titled, Learning From the Darkness and the Light. We thank them.


Spring Forward – April 2018 Mental Mending Update

Happy Easter, Happy Passover & Happy Spring – a time for renewal. 
 
Mental health is an important and timely topic in the aftermath of the Parkland, FL, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 15 students and 2 teachers were slain on Valentine’s Day. Mobilized students across the country, under the banner of #Enough and #NeverAgain, are demanding legislative action on reducing gun violence and access to affordable mental health resources. We endorse their peaceful, inclusive mission to make all public and community spaces safe for all children, teens, adults and seniors.
 
MENTAL MENDING IN THE NEWS 
Online Guide – Kids & Depression: This new guide from USA.gov helps parents, grandparents and teachers recognize symptoms and risk factors in children, teens and young adults, and highlights treatment options. Click here to view the guide.
 
Collier County, FL, is taking the lead and becoming a model for screening kids’ mental health during doctor visits.  Click here to read the Naples Daily News article by Liz Freeman. 
 
Healthy Lee, a civic group dedicated to improving public health in Lee County, Florida, hosted a first-of-its-kind community conversation to address mental health and substance abuse needs. Click here to Jennifer Reed’s article about their first Community Conversation. Spoken Word Artist Lenz Daluzma, presented the opening poem at this event. You can view his poem, Mask, on our project website – https://www.writeonmymind.com/the-poetry-gallery/.
 
A story of hope and community: ’I Never Thought That Would Happen in Our Family’ – Behind the movement for early discovery and treatment of kids with emotional problems. Click here to read about community mental health services, including NAMI of Collier County, that help families get re-grounded. Thanks to Gulfshore Life Magazine and journalist Jennifer Reed for their spotlight on mental health.
 
Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter’s Guest Commentary on navigating through the holidays after sudden loss was published in Florida Weekly and the Naples Daily News/USA Today. We thank them for helping us shine a light on mental health and NAMI’s helpful programs and services.
 
Mental Health Advocate Norman J. Ornstein shares his story about he challenges he and his wife faced when invoking Florida’s Baker Act to try to help their adult son who suffered from serious mental illness. “…until we devote the needed resources to making the mental health system work, we will continue to have unnecessary tragedies.” Click here to read his New York Times commentary – No Quick Fix for Mental Illness.” 
 
Singer, songwriter and activist Judy Collins shared from the heart @ the NAMI-CC Hope Shines Benefit Luncheon on December 8, 2017. Click here to read Dayna Harpster’s Spotlight Naples News Magazine article about Judy’s presentation.  
 
THE ART OF HEALING – www.WriteOnMyMind.com: A positive way to de-stress is through art. We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our website galleries as well as mental mending blog articles for our website Speaker’s Forum. We are delighted to introduce two new art projects for our art gallery: 
 
1. A Warm Salute to Everglades City Public Schools 4th & 5th Grade American History Course Artists: Art teacher James Tribble inspired his 4th and 5th graders to express their views on their recent American history course. Click here to view their uplifting patriotic artwork. Everglades City was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and the community’s resilience is inspiring. Thanks to Everglades City Public Schools Counselor Carolyn Rambosk for coordinating this project.
2. We Welcome the Marco Island Academy High School Art Students: Art teacher Rob Eder invited Deena Baxter to visit his class. Deena spoke with the students about surviving sudden loss and ways we can use art to help us heal. She brought a guest – spoken word artist Lenz Dalusma – who performed two poems: MASK and GLASSES. His messages were inspiring. Afterwards, the students worked on an art project that expressed their emotions in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and other recent trauma in their lives. We are honored to showcase their powerful and emotive artwork. Thank You Marco Island Academy Art Students, Mr. Eder and MIA Principal Melissa Scott.  Click here to view more of their artwork.
 
LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: “The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” ~ Terry Prachett 
 
ADVOCACY: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. View a summary of past presentations and photos at: https://www.writeonmymind.com/whats-news/.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Surviving Suicide - Searching For Normal with Heartache and Humor
 
About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes a book, a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com, and outreach presentations. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI of Collier County, FL. Click here for eBook information. Hard copies have sold out on Amazon but we have a few for sale at NAMI – contact deenabaxter2@gamil.comThe book has been endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS).   
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Upcoming Presentations and Events:
 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
WISE Event hosted by NUCC Stephen Ministry Program
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
McSpadden Hall
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tim McArthur – “A Primer on Mental Health”
Deena Baxter & NAMI of Collier County, FL, were invited to attend.
This is a closed event
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Family Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 3:30 – 4:30pm (35 min. presentation; 25 min. Q&A)
Collier County Public Library – Estates Library
1266 Golden Gate Boulevard West, Naples, FL 34120
Presentation by Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Title: Mental Mending after Sudden Loss – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache, Humor & Art
Open to the Public. Contact the Library to register: 239-455-8088
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Naples United Church of Christ
WISE Event hosted by NUCC Stephen Ministry Program
5200 Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34103
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dr. Sara Griffith Lund, author, Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness In Our Congregations, in Our Families, and In Ourselves 
Deena Baxter & NAMI of Collier County, FL, were invited to attend.
This is a closed event
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Best regards,
Deena Baxter and Team NAMI-Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project

Is it Possible to Live, Laugh, and Love Through the Holidays After Losing a Loved one to Suicide?

We are proud to feature guest blogger Jenny Landon, founder of The Lotus Project. As a survivor of suicide, Jenny has taken one of the most difficult experiences of her life – losing her father to suicide in 1999 – and turned it into a passion for helping others.  This is a beautiful and poignant essay about navigating through the holidays…and more. Click here to learn more about The Lotus Project and her book, “Growing Through Grief”.

The holidays are a time for gathering with loved ones and recognizing the blessings in our lives, but for those who’ve been impacted by suicide the holidays can be a reminder of all that’s been lost.

When I reflect on what Christmas first felt like for me after my dad died, I remember feeling overwhelmed by a multitude of emotions. I felt intense sadness because of the realization that I’d never have another Christmas with him. I felt angry and frustrated because I didn’t know how to interact with my mom and siblings. I felt guilty for having not realized how sick he had been, guilty for wanting to enjoy the day, and guilty for feeling as though my sadness was robbing the joy from others.

Losing my dad to suicide left me feeling as though I would never be whole again, and yet 18 years later I can tell you that it’s sometimes hard for me to remember what that pain felt like. As I prepared to write this, I found myself questioning when it was that my pain shifted from a gaping hole in my heart to a mending wound and I realized that much of my healing came after having children.

It wasn’t having children that healed me. It was my desire to be healthy for them that really pushed me to focus on being the best version of me. How could I be that if I was walking around with a gaping hole in my heart? I will admit that I often felt like I had to fake my enthusiasm and happiness in various situations. As I look back, I’ve realized that by faking it for my children I was actually relearning how to feel happiness. At some point it no longer felt forced or fake. It just felt natural to laugh again.

It’s important to understand that time doesn’t heal all wounds … it’s what we do with that time that determines our healing. My grief didn’t subside just because a few years had passed. My healing was the result of my desire to heal and my willingness to participate in various means of therapy, many of which often felt challenging and difficult because they were forcing me to fully process my loss and my grief.

First and foremost, I had to fully know and believe that no one chooses to be depressed and no one chooses to die by suicide. Suicide is the result of an illness. For some people that illness is long and drawn out. For others it’s sudden and unexpected. Once I understood that, I had to release myself and others from taking the blame for my dad’s death. Regardless of the situation, it’s important that we understand that healthy people do not die by suicide.

Another key element to my healing was making the choice to find something good from my dad’s death. After he died, I finished my degree in Psychology and then became a crisis counselor and public educator on suicide prevention and awareness. In January of 2017 I started a nonprofit focused on changing the way we speak and think about depression and suicide. My hope is that my dad’s death will contribute to the change that’s needed to help save others.

I wouldn’t be where I am today and doing the work I’m doing if it weren’t for the people in my life. Some have come and gone, but I’ve learned to always surround myself with people who will push me past my comfort zone in a healthy way, encourage me during times of self-doubt, and love me even when I feel unlovable.

I believe love is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and to others. I’ve learned that acts of love can heal our hearts faster and better than any amount of talk therapy. Volunteer at a shelter, compliment a stranger, help a person in need, share your story … If your words and actions are coming from a place of love, then there is a good chance you and the person you’re interacting with will both benefit.

Remember the person you lost for who they were to you. Honor their memory through sharing stories … good and bad, funny and sad. Don’t lose them again out of fear of talking about them.

My dad is with me every day. My tears aren’t from the pain I once felt, but from the love I feel when I talk about him. After my dad died I felt as though my heart might literally explode from the torment and sadness that was consuming me. Now I feel as though it might burst from all the love he pours into me.

My dad’s death and having children have given me the gift of realizing that I must make choices that make me proud, which provide me with a tremendous sense of joy and peace. It’s my hope that through sharing my own experiences with you that you will be encouraged and know that it is possible to fully live, laugh, and love through the holidays once again.


Mental Mending Summer Update – Thanks Kappa Psi & Collier Citizen, Welcome new artists at WriteOnMyMind.com

As we wrap up a very busy summer we have lots of good news to share.
 
Kappa Psi Presentation: Thanks to Grand Regent Robert Mancini and the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity Biennial Convention Committee for inviting Deena Baxter to speak on the topic of suicide loss and prevention on August 4, 2017. Her 90-minute plenary presentation to 635 Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Inc., members and guests included an engaging Q&A. At the conclusion of the session, Dr. Mancini presented Deena with a generous donation to NAMI of Collier County, FL, in honor of The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project. We are please to recognize Kappa Psi as a new Leadership Sponsor. Development Director Darla Pasteur accepted the check on behalf of NAMI of Collier County. Thanks are also in order for Editor Jay Schlichter and reporter Ashley Collins at the Collier Citizen for their extensive online, video and print coverage on Deena’s presentation, NAMI of Collier County, FL, and Kappa Psi. Click here to view the coverage. 
 
Thanks to our donors: We would also like to thank some new donors who are helping us “Give mental illness a life-affirming voice.”: Mrs. Norman Sebell (Leadership Sponsor) and members of the Naples United Church of Christ Stephen Ministry Program (Gift of Hope Donors). They, along with Kappa Psi, have been recognized on our home page (http://www.writeonmymind.com/).
 

Introducing new artwork at WriteOnMyMind.com: “Eye Candy” for the soul – in a range of flavors from bitter to sweet: That’s what you’ll find in new artwork from NAMI of Southwest Missouri Hope Center in Springfield, Missouri. Hope Center Director Addie Blankenship led a recovery-based Self-Expressions Workshop on June 9, encouraging participants to use art to express their journey in recovery from mental illness. Included below are some of the paintings and sculptures. Click here to view more artwork by Abigail, Addie, Anngie, Jillian, Josh, Ra’Mon, Tina and others. We are delighted to be part of their healing.

Introducing Naples, FL, Illustrator: Carl Dean Smeed is a native of Naples, FL, and a long-time member of the Sarah Ann Adult Drop-In Center community at NAMI of Collier County, FL. A self-trained artist, he started drawing at the age of four and developed his talent by observing other artists, practicing and developing his own style. His freehand illustrations, created with felt tip markers, are extremely detailed: most include a profusion of vibrant colors. Inspirations for his illustrations and body art designs (tattoos) come from the joys and sorrows of his life experiences and travels. Click here to view more of his illustrations.
We welcome mental mending blog articles for our website Speaker’s Forum as well as artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults for display on our website galleries.  
Surviving Suicide - Searching For Normal with Heartache and Humor
About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes a book, a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com, and outreach presentations. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI of Collier County, FL. Hard copy books are available at Amazon while supply lasts. An eBook is available on Amazon and the Apple store. The book has been endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS).   
 
Upcoming Presentations & Events: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and nationally. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. View a summary of past presentations and photos at: http://www.writeonmymind.com/whats-news/.
 
Here are some upcoming presentations. 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Family Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist
6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA)
Mental Health Webinar
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
This is a closed event.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Saturday, November 11, 2017 
Lunch speaker: Noon – 1:00pm
The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide
Hosted by The Kevin’s Song Foundation
The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth MI 48170
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: Out To Lunch: Mending a broken heart and searching for “Normal” after suicide loss
Open to the public. Registration required. Click here for registration and conference information.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Best regards,
Deena Baxter and Team NAMI-Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project

Honoring Memorial Day & Mental Health Awareness Month Heroes: Veterans, First Responders and Artists

The Memorial Day holiday is a time to honor our armed services veterans and first responders – those
who died, those who survived, and those currently on active duty defending our national security at
home and abroad.

As May comes to an end, so does Mental Health Awareness Month – an opportune time to honor mental health heroes. It’s a time to thank brain science researchers searching for mental health breakthroughs, diagnostic capabilities and patient-specific remedies; first responders who are trained in crisis intervention and know how to safely defuse a volatile mental health crisis; and the many grass-roots mental health advocates and non-profits striving locally and nationally to deliver effective mental health programs and services. Equally important are the courageous veterans, children, teens, adults and seniors who embrace life to the fullest while living with mental health challenges.

Since launching The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project in September 2014, in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, I have met many such heroes. In sharing their personal stories, they demonstrate levels of commitment and resilience that inspire me. Our project includes a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com – “A safe place for the mind to speak, giving mental illness a life-affirming voice.” We encourage people impacted by mental illness and their caregivers to express their emotions through art: drawings, paintings, photography, poetry, prose and music.

For too long, the stigma of mental illness and impairment has kept it cloaked in darkness and denial. This places an additional burden on those who live with it every day plus their caregivers, families and loved ones. Many of these adults, teens and children are seeking to live full, productive lives. They are successfully integrating their mental health challenges into their daily lives but don’t wish to be defined by them.

Anthony Azmitia is one of our NAMI artists and one of my heroes. He is in his late 30’s and is a talented artist. He’s articulate, highly observant, and has a wonderful, warm sense of humor that often surfaces in his art. The mediums he uses as “canvases” for many of his pieces are creative and unique: old LP records, bricks, wood blocks and cassette covers, to name a few. He is anchored by caring parents and sustained by his strong religious beliefs. When he lived in New York City, he participated in a structured program that matched him with a roommate and helped him find a job, allowing the two men to live in an apartment with support services available, when needed. Anthony loved the autonomy and he thrived. He dedicated himself to honing his artistic skills and was rewarded when some of his paintings debuted at Pure Vision Arts (http://www.purevisionarts.org/).

Unfortunately, the living arrangement didn’t last and Anthony was forced to move back home. When his parents retired to SW Florida he came with them. It’s been an adjustment for the family. Thankfully, he has found a welcoming home away from home at the NAMI-Collier Sarah Ann Adult Drop-In Center. That’s where I first met Anthony and viewed his artwork. I was very moved by his warm heart, his sensitive, caring nature, and his leadership capabilities. This spring, Caroline Ridgway, a third-generation SW Florida business leader and philanthropist, and a handful of sponsors and supporters hosted the Old Naples Arts and Entertainment Event, featuring artwork by artists similar to Anthony. It was juried by Kristine and Juliana Meek from Harmon-Meek Gallery. Anthony sold two pieces and received the Best in Show Blue Ribbon. His self-esteem soared and he told me, “This is my dream come true.” Anthony’s artwork is displayed at http://www.writeonmymind.com/the-art-gallery/.

The visual arts can be a powerful communicator, beyond words. It can send a message and teach us if we are open to it. Working together, coupled with adequate financial and human resources and effective life-skills programs and services, we can make our communities safer and welcoming for those living with mental health challenges. There is so much untapped potential – let’s give it a life-affirming voice and wings to fly.

Thanks to BetterAfter50.com and NaplesNews.com for publishing a shorter version of this article. Click here to view the BA50 article. Click here to view the Naples Daily News article.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  
We welcome artwork, photos, poetry, prose and multi-media works created by children, teens and adults
for display on our website galleries.

About The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project: After losing her youngest adult son to suicide, Deena Baxter launched The Surviving Suicide & Sudden Loss Project in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL, in September 2014. The project’s mission is to promote life-affirming mental wellness. It includes a book, a creative arts website, www.WriteOnMyMind.com, and outreach presentations. The book is titled, SURVIVING SUICIDE – Searching for “Normal” with Heartache and Humor: All profit from book sales flows to NAMI of Collier County, FL. Hard copy books are available at major booksellers while supply lasts. The eBook is available on Amazon and the Apple store. The book has been endorsed by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS).

Upcoming Presentations & Events: Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter is making presentations at venues throughout SW Florida – and beyond. See below for upcoming presentations. If you have a professional organization, company, civic, social or church group who would be interested in a mental mending presentation, contact her at DeenaBaxter2@gmail.com for more information. View a summary of past presentations and photos at: http://www.writeonmymind.com/whats-news/.Recent May 2017 presentations:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm, Lunch Speaker
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Missouri
NAMI-Missouri Annual Conference
Holiday Inn Expo Center
2200 I-70 Drive S.W., Columbia, MO 65203 
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: SURVIVING SUICIDE – Mending the Family Tree with Heartache, Art and Humor
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 12:30pm Luncheon Speaker
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Michigan
NAMI-Michigan Annual Conference
Detroit Marriott Livonia
17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI 48152
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: OUT TO LUNCH – Searching for “Normal” After Suicide
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Conference Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Presentation Time: 10:15am – 11:15am
Survivors of Suicide (S.O.S.) Macomb County, MI, Annual Conference
Macomb Intermediate School District Building
44001 Garfield Rd., Clinton Township MI 48038
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: MENTAL MENDING – Searching for “Normal” After Suicide

Here are some upcoming presentations. 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County, FL
Crisis Intervention Training (C.I.T.) Consumer Panel Presentation
Author & Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter will be a panelist

6216 Trail Boulevard, Building C
Naples, FL 34108-2835
This is a closed event.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Friday, August 4, 2017
Plenary Presentation: 10:30 – Noon
Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity Biennial Convention
Convention Theme: “Preserving our Future”
Naples Grande Beach Resort
475 Seagate Dr, Naples, FL 34103
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE – A Lived Story of Sudden Loss & Search for “Normal”
For members only. Registration required.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Saturday, November 11, 2017 
Presentation Time: Noon – 1:00pm
The Silent Epidemic: A Conference on Suicide
Hosted by The Kevin’s Song Foundation
The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth MI 48170
Presenter: Author and Mental Health Advocate Deena Baxter
Topic: TBA
Open to the public. Registration required.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Best regards,
Deena Baxter and Team NAMI-Collier
The Surviving Suicide and Sudden Loss Project
A Partnership with NAMI of Collier County, FL