Mental illness is like air. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Tricia Baker co-founded Attitudes In Reverse® (AIR™) with her husband Kurt and daughter Katelyn, in 2010 soon after the their son/brother,Kenny, completed suicide following a long battle with severe depression and anxiety disorder. Watching Kenny in pain from a biological brain-based illness,was difficult enough, but watching him be judged and ridiculed because of his illness was just too much. Lack of understanding of mental illness and the fact that suicide is only the symptom of an illness led to more discrimination following Kenny’s death. Suicide is the only form of death where you lose your loved one, but also lose family and friends due to stigma. The loss of Kenny,and the discrimination they faced following Kenny’s death, compelled the family to embark on a mission to eliminate stigma and help save young lives. No child should ever be embarrassed or afraid to seek treatment for a biological illness.
It is all around us. Tricia, Kurt, Katelyn and other AIR volunteers, educate students, teachers, and school faculty about mental health disorders and the importance of early identification and treatment.