Drew Vander Weele

Team Captain St. Stephen's Episcopal Church San Luis Obispo Walk


Hello Family and Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this message...  I appreciate it so much.  I have been asked to be a guest speaker at the Out of the Darkness Walk in Mission Plaza on Saturday, October 13th to share my story and I wanted to share it with you, too.

You may not know this about me...

2016 was a very difficult year for me; I struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Every morning I woke up feeling distraught and broken. Even though I appeared happy on the outside, I was doing seven shows with SLO REP, Kelrik and CAPSLO, had friends, and straight A’s. I had everything going for me, but I couldn't see beyond the pain I was feeling.

Sure, being a teenager is hard. This felt different though, I was trapped and ashamed to admit that I was “weak”. At my lowest point, I was considering suicide. I reached out and got help -- friends, family, group therapy. It all helped me get through those darkest days.  You helped me through those darkest days, whether you knew it or not!  It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but I feel so much better now.

That same summer a close friend of my godmother’s committed suicide. Watching someone I love so much lose a friend really impacted me... What would that have been like for her, my parents, my little brother, my family and my friends if I hadn't got help? I now realize that we are never alone and that it does get better.

Today, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 15 and 64 years old in the United States and approximately 117 Americans take their own life every day.  So, I have made it my goal to help people that are suffering from the same things I was, which is how I found the “Out of the Darkness Walk”. 

Even if you are unable to donate, I’m hoping that all of you can just look out for friends and family or others around you. Breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide by noticing possible symptoms like: feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, and feeling trapped, to name a few, is a simple way to help-out.

My goal is to make $2,000 for this organization. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to decreasing suicide rates by 

  • Funding scientific research
  • Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
  • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
  • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide

Together and through love we can change the tides.

If you are in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, October 13th at 10:00am, I hope you can come see me speak in Mission Plaza.  It is a wonderful and supportive event. 

Thank you.

xoxo, Drew