Mental health speaker Kevin Breel: "You are not alone"
By: Tariq Abdul
STATESBORO, Ga. - The University Wellness Program hosted the mental health awareness event on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Russell Union ballroom. This event encouraged all students to come out and listen to young Canadian author, Kevin Breel, speak about mental health.
Breel is from the district of Victoria British Columbia, Canada and was raised in an unstable household. His father was an alcoholic dealing with depression and anxiety. Breel was not aware of what his father was going through, but he knew something was wrong.
He had no answers or support growing up besides his best friend’s family, the McGregors.
At 13-years-old, Breel began dealing with pain and depression after his best friend, Jordan McGregor, and McGregor’s mother died in a terrible car accident. This hurt Breel deeply, because the McGregors were like his second family. Now he really had no one to talk to.
Eventually, Breel became so depressed that he started having suicidal thoughts. One night in his room in his mother’s basement, he wrote a suicidal note and had a bottle of pills beside his bed.
“I just wanted to end the pain. I thought there was no other way to stop this suffering,” Breel said.
Breel realized that there must be another way to stop this suffering and decided to seek help. He began speaking with counselors and his mother for help and eventually stopped feeling depressed.
Now all Breel wants to do is help others dealing with depression and give them support to not end their lives.
“Everyone needs help and deserves to live. I want to make a difference by showing people that there’s alternatives to being happy,” Breel said.
This was his first time being in Georgia. He really touched the Georgia Southern students through his advice and even some of his jokes.
Georgia Southern sophomore, Amber Patterson, was warmed by Breel’s words.
“I’m glad I came to this event because I really needed to know that I wasn’t alone and that someone understands,” Patterson said.
“At times I feel hopeless and alone because I don’t have any type of support. After watching him speak made me happy and I even got to talk to him after; I bought his book, too.”
Not only did Breel influence some of the students, he affected some of the staff members working the event.
Graduate Assistant of Health Services, Songsarae Harley, was moved by the event as well.
“I’m glad that Breel came to our event to speak to show to everyone that they aren’t alone. He showed the students that whenever life gets hard or if they don’t know how to deal with stress or depression, and then always seek help,” Harley said.
“Never give up and don’t be too good to seek support. I think that was the most important lesson.”