Speaker’s Forum

Merry Mental Mending Greetings – December 2018

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. 

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.  


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

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