Speaker inspires UP nonprofits to break the stigma surrounding mental health

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Upper Michigan nonprofit organizations received some inspiration in Marquette Monday afternoon as a speaker addressed suicide prevention.

Around 50 people were in attendance representing nonprofits from around the U.P. all hoping to gain further insight into suicide prevention.

Attendee Karen Wolf says the presentation made a lasting impact.

“He was very powerful, very real and gave me a lot of things to think about that I had not considered before,” Wolf said.

David Bartley, a nationally recognized suicide prevention speaker, focuses on bringing hope to those around him.

Wolf says his vulnerability as a speaker was especially impactful.

“He shared things that were deeply personal and that just puts you in a different space with talking to people,” Wolf said.

U.P. Sail Associate Director Nicholas Emmendorfer says having Bartley here shows how determined the community is to address the mental health crisis.

“I think what it says about our community is that we are willing to do some of the tough things to address mental illness which really comes down to having the conversation,” Emmendorfer said. “The reality is that a lot of us deal with it or know someone who is dealing with it.”

Bartley, who lives in California, will return to the U.P. on Aug. 11-14 to speak with veterans about suicide prevention.

“I think what happens is the military is not okay with talking about their feelings, but real Men and real Women are dying from this who have real feelings,” Bartley said. “I think until we can break that stigma until we can realize that asking for help is a sign of strength, we are going to lose brave men and women.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255, or by visiting our mental health resource page.

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