Out of the Darkness

I have received a slew of emails since my talk at Skepticon IV (and resulting call for more openness and skepticism on the subject of mental illness).  I’ve also gotten a few cards in the mail.  It’s beyond touching.  I never dreamed that talk would mean so much to so many people.

I got a letter today I want to share from somebody who saw that talk.

The author wrote about losing her father to suicide at the cusp of her teens and how it probably would not have happened had he received the treatment he needed.  She now works with the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention campaign.  They are trying to get their suicide prevention program into every high school in the nation.  I’m touched to see such important activism going towards such a needing demographic.

She thanked me for my talk and included a crystal with the word “Hope” engraved along with her letter.

You’re welcome for the talk.  I’ll be honest, giving that talk took a lot out of me.  If asked to do a talk on mental illness again, I likely would, but it will be a while.  Letters like this one make me willing to do it again.  The support we give to each other is how we’re going to change the face of society with regards to mental illness.

To the woman who sent this letter, whose name I’ve not used just to be safe, thank you for your support.

MENTAL ILLNESS: Today's session.
MENTAL ILLNESS: BDSM or Neuroscience?
MENTAL ILLNESS & PERSONAL: Pictures of my brain.
MENTAL ILLNESS: I see affection as a competition.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com ozymandias

    Hey, I absolutely loved your speech, and I just wanted to give a headsup to you, if you didn’t know it already, that someone made a transcript of it:


    Now all the people who have screenreaders can experience the speech too. :)

  • Kaito

    I just got a chance to watch the talk, and I couldn’t help but start crying. Great speech! I love your blog JT!!

  • http://sheilacrosby.com Sheila Crosby

    JT, your speech was awesome.

    It also made me realise that I haven’t had a bout of serious depression for 11 years.

    I suspect that there are two kinds of mental illness: those caused by straightforward chemical imbalances in the brain, and those caused by wonky ways of looking at the world. (e.g. I used to believe that I could praise myself for my successes once, but I had to beat myself up for my failures indefinitely.) In either case, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis and treatment. Blaming the sufferer or praying will work about as well as it does for epilepsy.

  • Monica

    A big, happy “like” for this. It’s wonderful to hear how much your talk has affected and helped people. Thanks for all you do.

  • dancinbojangles

    I initially read that as “suicide prevention camp” and was like Whoa, that sounds like a terrible idea. Just a bunch of depressed, suicidal people getting together and made to do depressing activities…