I never share things too personal with just anyone-- it's something that is a struggle for me. I'm an extremely personal and quiet person when I'm not on the air. In the past, it has driven friends and even relationships absolutely crazy. "Why can't you just communicate", I've been asked. Well- I do TRY at times, but for me, holding very, very few people close is just how I operate.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about how to tackle this topic in particular. I'll cut to the chase. Early this month, my cousin, the closest thing I had to a brother growing up, took his own life. My first thought is this: how will sharing this on the radio appear to my family? What about his immediate family? Do I want to let thousands of people into MY life? Will I appear opportunistic? I'm not looking for sympathy.

Finally it dawned on me: NOT talking about the issue, IS the issue.

Mental health and the lack of attention and care availability is a real issue in our society today, I believe. It's time we talk about all of this. It's time everyone knows there is help, that there are resources, and that they're loved by someone.

My cousin was a Marine. He was a a guy with one of the biggest hearts I'd ever met. He liked people a LOT more than I ever did--I admired that about him. I didn't expect to receive a call one day from my mom saying that he was no longer with us. He has a family, a sister, a son--weeks later, I'm still numb from the experience. I hurt for his little guy that won't ever know him, for his sister and parents who I love with my whole heart, for his wife, and for our grandma who always called us "her boys".

I don't know what my cousin was going through. Sadly, I'll never know. The more I read about the issue, the more that I learn this is often what drive those who are left behind wonder.  I remember one day about 5 years ago, calling my cousin to just talk-- I was going through a lot of things and to be honest, we had never talked that personally as adults. He walked me through it and calmed me down. I remember thinking it was odd I called HIM. I guess I knew he always had my back.  Oh, the things I would have done to have been able to take HIS call. To be there for HIM.

Suicide is a real issue in our society. I don't know how to fix it, so I'll stay off of the soap box. I'll say this: a little kindness goes a long way. In these unprecedented times--I feel it can go even further.

My heart and the hearts of my family hurt. If you've ever been through this before--you know the pain I'm talking about.  If you haven't ever experienced like this--like I would have said a month or more ago--it's tough to think it could happen to you or a loved one. I know because that was me just months ago. You quickly learn we're all human and the best thing we can do is be present, listen to one another, and just be kind.

Help Is Available. 

National Suicide Hotline Number: 

1-800-273-8255