Mental health advocate to speak on suicide awareness
Every 40 seconds a life is lost to suicide. Chelsea Stout, founder of Endure Life, lost both her childhood best friend and her brother to suicide before the age of 25.
“I thought I was the only one suffering. Even the people affected by the same suicide refused to talk about it. It was as if the person I was mourning had never existed to them,” Stout said. “This reaction – or lack of a reaction – from those I relied on meant I never had a safe place to open up.”
Chelsea Stout, founder of Endure Life.
For years, Stout buried her anxieties however she could. Whether it was by using substances or by overachieving in school and sports, she did anything to make sure her mind was never quiet. Those demons eventually caught up with her, and this time she chose to act. She created the Instagram handle @Endure_Life where she began to process her complicated experiences by starting unfiltered conversations about mental health and suicide.
“I wanted to do something to fight against the stigma and show that being a suicide survivor and struggling with a mental illness is a life-long process of pain and healing,” Stout said. “I wanted to remind people to not take those around them for granted, and to know that simply reaching out in a genuine way means the world to someone feeling alone.” Following a student suicide on a local college campus, Stout partnered with student leaders to mobilize campus awareness about suicide prevention. She also expanded her online presence into a blog and a sustainable apparel shop. Now on the ground in Seattle, she advocates for mental health resources for at-risk populations through grassroots campaigns and local partnerships.
Stout will be tuning in virtually for remarks and a Q&A with OHIO students, faculty, and staff on Monday, Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. The online presentation will include how to identify warning signs of suicidality, navigating support for an at-risk person, understanding your own mental health, and more.
“This is information I wish I had available to me when I was in college because I know it will save lives,” Stout said. “My hope is to teach others how to better understand how they can help those around them and help those mental health advocates to know that they are not alone on their journey. Those that listen need someone to listen; those that check in on you, need to be checked in on; and those that lift you up, sometimes need to be lifted up.”
“This is a unique opportunity for our campus to speak with someone who has dedicated their life to suicide awareness and education,” said David Lairmore, OHIO psychologist. “It can be challenging for faculty and staff to broach this topic with students and meet them on their level. It will be valuable for anyone to hear Chelsea’s story, and her authenticity will resonate with students in particular.”