My name is Sharon Kojima. I lost both my brother and cousin to suicide two years ago. Our family had never experienced suicide up close before. We are still trying to understand and come to terms with Lindsay and Kevin’s deaths, which occurred only months apart
Mental illness is real and a disease that often gets overlooked. Many mistakenly believe that people who suffer from mental illness are weak, lazy and should simply "snap out of it". This false impression creates a sense of shame and stigma and an overall environment that makes it even harder for those in need of help, to reach out and seek it.
Getting help either for yourself, or for someone you care about, can be extremely daunting. In my case, my brother didn't want help and thought he was "fine". And since he lived so far away and was good at showing his family only the side of him he wanted us to see, it took myself especially, a long time to recognize how dramatically his mental state had declined and how badly he was in need of professional help.
It is my hope that by hosting this small charity event and by continuing to have a dialogue about mental illness and suicide prevention, we can work towards removing the barriers to good and affordable mental health care and ultimately, to prevent more suicides from occurring.
Please join me this Sunday, May 27 from 8:30-9:45 AM for a donation based flow yoga class. All funds raised will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In addition to supporting this cause, I would like to ask each of you to look around. Ask your family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances how they are doing. Ask them how they are REALLY doing and let them know that you are also really there for them.