Eagle River Youth Coalition hosts candid discussions about depression and mental health | VailDaily.com

Eagle River Youth Coalition hosts candid discussions about depression and mental health

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EAGLE COUNTY — Just because someone appears cheery, happy-go-lucky or like he or she has their act together, doesn't mean they aren't struggling. We're trained to put on a good outward appearance — that everything is great. Take a look at Facebook and your friends and acquaintances are always putting the best face forward; not a care in the world; life is grand.

No one knows this more, perhaps, than someone who has survived being on the brink of suicide. Molly Fiore not only is a survivor but also revamped her life to help others who feel desperate and hopeless.

"Mental illness is an isolating and lonely disease by nature," she said. "It sure feels like you are the only one in town, even the world, living through this specific kind of pain. I will tell you: You are not alone. There are more of us feeling this way than you could imagine."

Fiore felt like no one understood her pain and it nearly led her to take her life. Instead, she made a conscious choice to change her life, to examine every aspect of it and, ultimately, to get busy living. Todd Musselman was a catalyst in helping Fiore move from suffering with depression to using it to uplift and help others.

“Mental illness is an isolating and lonely disease by nature. It sure feels like you are the only one in town, even the world, living through this specific kind of pain.”Molly FioreCounselor, Mind Springs Health

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How Did We Get Here?

Musselman, meanwhile, was stunned when he had a conversation with his son, who at the age of 12 shared with him that he wasn't sure life was worth living. This conversation sent Musselman and his family on a long journey, one filled with pain and a deep sense of hopelessness. Eventually, his son was diagnosed with clinical depression.

How did we get here? After all, he has two loving parents and no known traumas in his life that would create this outcome. It was extremely hard to digest and accept.

Over the next few years Musselman said he realized he was parenting from fear, not setting boundaries or holding his son accountable. This change created a profound ripple effect in his entire family.

"I let him get away with a lot of things, things I would never let my other two children get away with," he said.

Perfect Resource

Fiore now devotes much of her time to suicide prevention through Speak Up, Reach Out, is a full-time counselor at Mind Springs Health and is also a life coach. She combines her life experiences with her education, holding master's degrees in business administration and spiritual psychology. In particular, Fiore helps people through all steps of life, from transitioning to high school to figuring out retirement, helping with relationships, anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide.

In other words, Fiore is the perfect resource for anyone struggling and the Eagle River Youth Coalition will rely on her strength, compassion and knowledge to lead November's Eat Chat Parent discussion, "But Hey, She Smiles, So She's OK, Right?"

Fiore will share, from her own perspective and experience, about dealing with depression from a teen's point of view, along with what helped her and what didn't. Musselman will share how it feels to go through teen depression from a parent's point of view, what has worked, what hasn't and ultimately what led his son and entire family to transcend his depression and create a healthy path forward.

Attendees can not only listen and learn but also take place in a community conversation and ask questions. The Eat Chat Parent series features free admission, free dinner and free childcare. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the presentation at 6 p.m. and a Q-and-A session at 7 p.m. Learn more by clicking on "Programs" at eagleyouth.org.

If you go …

What: “But Hey, She Smiles, So She’s OK, Right?” an Eagle River Youth Coalition Eat, Chat, Parent event.

When and where: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the Gypsum Recreation Center, 52 Lundgren Blvd. in Gypsum, and Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Battle Mountain High School, 151 Miller Ranch Road in Edwards.

Cost: Free.

More information: RSVP to Carol Johnson, community engagement coordinator, at cjohnson@eagleyouth.org.

Mental health training

• Youth Mental Health First Aid Training — Eagle County Public Health & Environment, in partnership with Mind Springs Health, will offer its next youth mental health first aid training from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. The training is open to the first 30 people who register. The next adult mental health first aid training also will take place the first week of December, with a date and location to be announced.

• Question, Persuade, Refer suicide training — This training teaches how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope and how to get help and save a life and will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Eagle County Building.

Contact Sarah Kennedy, health promotions coordinator, at sarah.kennedy@eaglecounty.us or 970-328-2607 for more information on these events.