Taking Little Steps Of Hope

"Healing my heart is an act of taking one small step every day. Healing is not through a single decision, but through the small daily decisions, that add up over time."
Rhonda Marglon-Ramsey
Rhonda Marglon-Ramsey & Blake Bennett
​Suicide Loss Survivors
My name is Rhonda Marglon-Ramsey. After many years of battling bipolar disorder, my daughter Melissa lost her fight with the illness when she completed suicide in 2008. Melissa left behind her 5-year-old son Blake, two biological brothers, two step-brothers, parents, grandparents, many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Sadly, at 5 years old, because Blake heard his mother say the words “I want to die” or “I'm going to kill myself” many times, he knew Melissa took her own life when I told him that she died.

Blake and I both suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Melissa's death. It was very difficult to stay focused most days. The first year following Melissa’s death, each morning as I dropped Blake off at school, he'd cry and hug me real tight, and ask me not to die.

It is never easy losing a loved one, but losing a loved one to suicide is a unique kind of pain. My pain was off the charts, so I can’t even imagine the intense pain 5-year-old Blake was feeling!

Stigma is still a major hurdle in getting people the mental health care they need. Because people are uncomfortable with talking about suicide, and mental health, there is still many myths surrounding suicide and mental health. Talking openly about suicide and mental illness does not give a person the idea to attempt or complete suicide. That is a myth! 

According to the latest statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 to 50 percent of all people with bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, go untreated each year. The number of untreated people suffering from other disorders, such as anxiety, or depression, is even greater.

There are no words to describe the day-to-day pain that me and my family have had to endure. The good news is that we've managed to gain understanding, strength, and healing, by talking openly about mental illness, suicide, and suicide prevention with others.

Blake is now 13 years old, and with a lot of hard work, education, and therapy, he does understand that he is not to blame for his mom's death. Blake and I still suffer the pain of losing Melissa, and because we don't want to see other families suffer, Blake and I became members of the Shasta County Suicide Prevention Workgroup, Stand Against Stigma, and we started our own group, Little Steps of Hope. I am also the primary Facilitator for the Good Grief Suicide Loss Support Group.

All children face many challenges, including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, addiction and self-harm, so shameful secrets, and myths. The stigma surrounding mental health keeps many children from getting the help they so badly need.