Speaker’s Forum

A Mental Mending Valentine – February 2019

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! 


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. 

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


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.

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