will with daughter trinity at school lunch table
Cancer we can talk about.

Drug abuse we can talk about.

The list can go on and on. What we have a hard time to talk about is mental illness and yet 1 in 3 individuals suffer. Sadly some may suffer in silent or are told “our family takes care of our own problems” when recommending counseling.

But let me go back to those that suffer in silent, let me interject and share with you a story, my story.

My name is Marla Werner, and I’m a Human Resources Instructor here at Moraine Park Technical College.

A very cherished photo. The last time Trinity saw her Dad and Will's last Christmas. December 2013. How so much changed only a year later.

A very cherished photo. The last time Trinity saw her Dad and Will’s last Christmas. December 2013. How so much changed only a year later.Diabetes we can talk about.

December 8, 2014 at 8:15 p.m. during a Monday night Packer Game. It was at this exact time my world and my daughter’s world as we knew it, changed forever!

A call changed my life, my direction, my awareness, my want for change.

At 8:15 pm the phone rang, I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t answer.  It rang again, same number, I again didn’t answer.  The third time, I answered.

“Marla, this is David and Will is dead.”  What?  Will is dead? How?

The rest was a beginning of a journey that I didn’t want to be on.

My ex-husband of only eight months, who I knew for almost twelve years.  Who was a coach, a father, a brother, a leader at work, a friend, an uncle, took his own life.

One simple phone call changed a day of laughter and “normal” into questions and disbelief. I had to somehow find strength to start this journey that I didn’t want to be a part of and guide my precious daughter down a path I knew nothing about.  Through this truly hated path, however, I was so beyond blessed. I have seen the absolute best in people. In an instant life changed, but in an instant a community held us so close to their hearts and for this I am forever grateful. I do have to confess that the thank you notes were not completed and some were never sent and for this I was truly sorry, but I made a promise to my daughter and I had to stop. She asked me with tears rolling down her face if we could stop signing and sending thank you’s because she said it hurt her heart too much as it reminded her that her Daddy was gone. She just cried and cried and said she was truly thankful for the kindness but wasn’t thankful her Daddy was gone forever.

As a parent, I tried to be strong and was going to go into this whole reasoning of why we MUST continue but instead, I cried with her, held her tight and promised her we were done. Please know that the outreaches of love and compassion NEVER went unnoticed!  Within our journey I have seen my daughter become MY rock as she continues to amaze me and showcase amazing grace and strength. I am beyond appreciative for all the assistance in keeping life “normal” for Trinity, as a coach, or teacher, a friend, family, or Pastor etc., all have made this path able to walk!!!

See, now you know why I will talk about this silent nemesis of mental illness. I can’t go back and change anything but I can educate and promote conversations. I can try to create and encourage the discussions.

There is truly no shame in anyone’s struggles.  I feel there is truly no shame in mental illness.  What breaks me and hurts are those that lose their battle and feel peace can only be achieved when they choose to no longer be a part of this world.  I am sorry, but no matter who the individual is, that is a great loss.

TRUE LOVE, as he loved his Baby Girl. This is what he always called her. "My Baby Girl" Laughing together at one Trinity's first birthday party's she was asked to attend.

TRUE LOVE, as he loved his Baby Girl. This is what he always called her. “My Baby Girl” Laughing together at one Trinity’s first birthday party’s she was asked to attend.

We all have a story, we all have made mistakes, but now we need to all be OK with asking for help.  We can always encourage another to reach out for help but we fall short seeking help for ourselves.

I don’t want another family member to ever have to go through the difficult situation of breaking news to a child, friend, co-worker, that one they cared for and thought so highly didn’t see themselves the same way and took their own life.

Don’t be afraid to talk!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!! As instructors we too are here for you.  Not only to prepare you for that career dream but to provide you the assistance along those bumpy roads.

I along with everyone at our College are here for any of you – for big struggles and little ones.

Moraine Park offers Counseling Services on all three campuses and for on-line students. Counselors are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. and other times by appointment. Counseling services are FREE.

So if you’re just struggling in class, or feeling stressed, or problems at home are interfering with school; if you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed or anxious; if you’re questing your program and career choices or just dealing with test anxiety, we are here for you!

Our counseling sessions are a chance to talk about what’s bothering you or causing you stress. It’s a chance to discover your own solutions with the help of a trained professional.

Reach out for assistance if you need it, you are NOT weak if you need help, you just need assistance down your path!

If you need do help, here’s a good place to start. Best wishes!

Written by Marla Werner

Human Resources Instructor