Mental health stigma campaign launched by Maynooth mother after losing son
Twenty-eight-year-old Mark Snider was an avid outdoorsman and played baseball since he was a child.
For the last 12 to 18 months of his life, his mother Louri Snider says her son was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression.
She says her son, a father of two young children, died by suicide in May.
“He was having some troubles at work when we first noticed it and he thought he was having a heart attack, and then we realized it was anxiety and panic attacks and then they lost her home to a house fire,” Snider said.
While her son Mark was grappling with the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder and a bipolar diagnosis, Snider says that was when the powerful prison of stigma became apparent to her.
“I know for us, personally, our son — that was a huge thing,” Snider said. “He didn’t want anybody to know and he didn’t want to go to the doctors for a long time.”
Louri says she’s determined to change that and with the help of her family she’s hoping to make a difference.
The family has started a website because of Mark’s love for baseball.
Louri says the website and the Facebook page act as a forum to discuss mental health issues.
The Maynooth mother also uses a ball glove and a card with her son’s story attached to it to get the conversations going. The glove and the card is then placed in a public space.
Snider says if someone finds the glove, she wants them to post it on social media and then place it in another public space.
The original plan was for the family to place one glove a month somewhere public, she adds.
“Hopefully bring out people that, you know, want to tell their stories and speak out and say, ‘let’s make a difference.'”
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The concept has caught on, Snider says, and people have supplied their own gloves, while either getting cards from the family or printing their own from the website.
The gloves are now even appearing internationally, Snider notes.
“One’s been placed in the UK; one’s on it’s way to Arizona right now with a family friend,” she says.
Snider says they are hoping to build on the momentum they’ve started and continue to raise awareness about mental health issues.
It’s still in the early planning stages, but Snider says they are aiming to hold a baseball tournament in Mark’s name next year over the Father’s Day weekend.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
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