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Raising mental health awareness: Daughter seeks to remove stigma by donating mother’s life story to libraries

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MILWAUKEE -- Raising mental health awareness one library at a time. Rachael Siddoway and Sonja Wasden join FOX6 WakeUp to talk about their new book tour traveling across the country. Siddoway seeks to remove stigma and restore hope by donating her mother’s life story to local libraries in all 50 states.

About Rachael Siddoway's story: 

After my mother attempted suicide a leading psychiatrist at the University of Missouri Hospital, where her dad was CEO, told him to never bring his wife back to this hospital again. Our family felt like my mom’s illness was a dirty little secret.

While my mother was in the ICU, a nurse informed her his faith believed people who killed themselves went to hell. He confidently let her know she had just escaped damnation.

When my mother was released from the hospital and returned home for the first time, she saw her neighbors socializing at the end of our block. As she approached to greet them, the conversation instantly died. Their silence was heartbreaking, and their discomfort was all too visible.

These interactions led me to ask myself several questions. If my mother had suffered a heart attack, would the cardiologist have asked my dad never to bring my mother back to that particular hospital because he was the CEO? Or if my mother had suffered a stroke, would the nurse tell her she just escaped damnation? Or if she was diagnosed with cancer, would our neighbors have remained silent in her presence? Any other medical emergency would have been treated without judgment, so why not suicide? Unfortunately, the stigmas of mental health make people feel a certain shame for needing and seeking help.

Through DBT therapy and medication my mother now has been stable for years and currently has a beautiful life. She has a happy 27 year marriage, three children in college thriving, and is fully functioning with joy! There is HOPE.

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