LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — September is National Suicide Prevention Month — an effort to combat the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. An Arkansas woman is on a mission to remind people they're not alone.
Dr. Rochelle Redus is a mother, a grandmother, and she is a survivor.
"I'm still here, I'm still smiling," Redus said.
She is also a mental health advocate.
"I have a mood disorder," Redus said. "When I was first diagnosed, you didn't talk about it. It was a hush-hush, especially in the African American community. You didn't seek therapy because if you sought therapy, 'What's wrong with you? Are you crazy?' You just didn't do that. And so it was a lot of shame, and so I hid."
Redus' son took his own life in 2011. Her sister completed suicide in 2016. And Redus attempted to take her own life as well.
"I know it's not my fault, but I wasn't able to save my son," she said. "I wasn't able to save my sister, even though I had attempted before them. And I still survived."
Now on a mission to save others, Redus shares her own story.
She published a book this summer — a detailed account of the trauma and struggles she has faced and how she's persevered.
"That's why the title of my book is "No Longer Broken," she said. "I'm just letting it bear and letting the world see this is me, and you can survive."
Redus first enrolled in college at age 32 in an effort to learn more about herself and her mental illness. She now has a bachelor's in psychology, a master's in organizational leadership, a master's in social work, and a doctorate in organizational leadership.
Using her research, her writing and her day-to-day interactions, she works to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and remind people they are not alone.
"My message to people would be to seek help," Reddus said. "Have a support system because somebody needs to be there to pick you up, to remind you that you're not alone. And just be unapologetic about yourself. You are who you are and it is okay."
Redus' book, No Longer Broken, is on sale now. Click here to learn more.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.