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Turning pain into purpose: How grief propelled Loree Vick to fight the stigma of mental health

“This pandemic that we are in, is leading to the next pandemic. Which is a mental health pandemic.”

CLEVELAND — Loree Vick is known to many as a broadcasting veteran and public relations pro.

But she is also building a second legacy, as a mental health advocate, here in Northeast Ohio.

Nearly 16 years ago, Loree’s husband of 25 years took his own life. 

She tells Hollie Strano that John had battled mental health issues for years, and in fact, the seeds of his mental illness were planted in his youth. 

To the outside world, her husband was outgoing, vibrant, active, and was loved by family and friends. Yet, he was able to mask his pain, until finally he couldn’t.

“It is just as difficult for someone to watch a loved one, become debilitated through mental disease, as it is to their body, become ravaged with what we would call a more physical disease,” said Vick.

Today, Vick serves on the LifeAct board, an educational organization that helps young people identify the signs of depression, anxiety and mental illness. 

Prior to the pandemic, LifeAct was active in about 200 schools, reaching 25,000 students. Of those students, an estimated 12% have come forward, admitting they need help.

“We are saving lives,” Vick stressed.

Despite their efforts, the problem of mental health and teens has been exacerbated during the pandemic. Isolation, loneliness, too much screen time and loss of extra-curricular activities are just a few of the factors that have contributed to increased mental health struggles. 

Additionally, with remote learning, it’s harder for students to see counselors and get help. Throughout the pandemic, LifeAct has continued offered programming, any way it can, to keep students connected, and advocating for their mental well-being.

Loree Vick and 3News' Hollie Strano had a more in-depth conversation about what parents can actively do to help their children, in these very difficult times. 

She also provided guidance on what signs to look for in you children, that may indicate your child is struggling more than you realized.

You can watch the entire interview below:

For more information on mental health, go to: https://www.lifeact.org/