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Conversations with the Inspiring Venessa D. Abram

Today we’d like to introduce you to Venessa D. Abram.

With the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, two popular and internationally renowned celebrities in the fashion and food industries, experts are predicting an increase in suicide by regular people who may be on the edge. Reaching people who may be on the edge, is the critical reason behind a current tour addressing mental illness and suicide prevention, by acclaimed author and suicide survivor, Venessa.

Venessa, an Atlanta-based author, certified speaker and instructor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), The RESPECT Institute and a Junior Board Member for American Foundation on Suicide Prevention (AFSP), is all too familiar with the trauma, pain and stigma surrounding mental illness, depression and suicide. Her older brother, a decorated military veteran committed suicide nearly two years ago and she herself had attempted to end her life in years past. Now as a survivor, Abram has made it her mission to help families heal and educate others about the realities of mental illness, depression and suicide prevention, through an upcoming national speaking tour.

The Self Discovery: Pain, Positioning and Purpose Tour will be an educational, empowering and inspirational forum for individuals and families struggling with the causes and effects of mental illness, depression and suicide.

“What we see with what has happened with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain last week, is that people who have been personally impacted by mental illness need to know they are not alone, and that there is hope,” said Abram. “My older brother, who was a veteran, took his life 16 months ago and since then I have been on a journey of healing and reaching out to see how I can bring more awareness to ravages of suicide,” she shared. “In fact, I too attempted suicide in 2008 and realized that God spared my life for a reason. Now I must do what I can to help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide, and help families heal who have experienced it,” Abram said.

According to the AFSP, an organization that raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide, each year more than 44,000 people die from suicide, which costs the U.S. almost $70 billion annually. In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24, and the rates are steadily increasing.

Donations and Sponsorships are welcome. Portions of the proceeds from the Self Discovery: Pain, Positioning and Purpose Tour will benefit AFSP and their work to fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention, and advocate for policy that will save lives. During the tour, Abram will also be signing her award-winning signature tour book, “The Valley of Transfiguration: 40 Days with God in My Grief: Pain Positioning and Purpose.”

The tour kicked off in Atlanta on June 3rd, in honor of Venessa’s brother’s birthday, June 5th and traveled to Columbia, SC on June 9. The tour will continue in Charlotte, NC on July 14; Gary, IN on July 28; New Orleans, LA on August 11; Dallas, TX on August 25; Baltimore, MD on September 22 and Jackson, MS on October 20.

In addition to Venessa, other speakers participating in all eight-cities of the tour who will bring education, encouragement, enlightenment and inspiration to attendees include Norma Stanley, a disability community consultant and advocate, author and singer and Torre A. Stocker, an author, business consultant and mentor who will be part of entire tour. Other speakers participating in the tour in select cities include, Robin Hair, Nichole Ebullience Peters, Ashley Smith, Ziza McMillan, Deacon Jesse L. Anderson, Ira Warren, Teresa Wright-Johnson, Pastor Torrey Montgomery, Kimberly McGowan.

“Mental Illness is an invisible disability that often leads to suicide and I want to let people know this is something that is becoming an epidemic and is devastating families all around the country,” shared Abram. “The goal of this tour is to not only educate people about mental illness, depression and the stigma surrounding suicide, but to help instill hope, renewed purpose and a thirst for life, through the powerful messages brought from some amazing speakers, about overcoming those dark periods we all experience at times,” Abram said.

Tickets to the event in each city, is $25. For more information about the Self Discovery: Pain, Positioning and Purpose Tour or to purchase tickets, go to her website. You may also donate to AFSP on behalf of the tour at https://afsp.donordrive.com/campaign/Self-Discovery–Pain–Positioning—Purpose-Conference-Tour. For media inquiries, contact Norma Stanley at E.E.E. Marketing Group at 404/451-1811.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This journey has been one of the complex and hardest outside the passing of my brother. While I am yet on the grief journey from my brother’s passing from suicide, I told God I will worship you even while wounded and please active every spiritual gift needed in order to complete this spiritual assignment. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my brother. There are even days I allow myself to grieve and embrace the gut-wrenching pain and collateral damage suicide leaves behind.

My advise to both women, men, boys and girls, because mental illness nor suicide discriminates. Please accept your truth, flaws, imperfections and even get the help needed from abuse, misuse, rape, discrimination, etc., as a child up and through your adult years. Please understand, we are all products of our environments and live with scars from our past. The difference is “When you know better, you do better” and stop lying and keeping secrets. We are only as sick as our secrets and eventually as we try to hold on to untruths it will eat at our minds that can potentially result in mental illness. Mental illness is a chemical imbalance that is usually inherited through the bloodline. I can remember my mother saying, ” What goes on in this house, stays in this house”. And I grew up to say the same thing, but it begin to eat at my soul, my mind, my heart. Simply because I was living a lie. When we tell the truth and stand boldly in our truth, we become lighter and free. It is very real that the truth will set you free. Many of us live with abusive pasts and things we saw and even involved in as a civilian or United States Service Person and we’ve not been the same. So my bold advise is to “do you” and not allow anything or anyone to stop you from being the best you you can be. In being the best you, that may include seeing a therapist, going to mental health meetings that teach you about how the mind works and how mental illness is a serious illness that has the potential to kill by way of suicide and/or homicide. I suggest joining National Alliance of Mental Illness (nami.org), where I am a certified speaker and facilitator. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness (nami.org). I also suggest you get involved with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.org). Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. (AFSP.org) where I am on the Junior Board. I also suggest you get with your State and find our how to become more involved in stopping the stigma around bullying, mental illness and suicide. I never thought I’d have a platform around mental illness as a result of being a suicide-survivor and then losing a sibling that was a Veteran to suicide. Please although it feels like you are alone, you are not. Please call the 24/7 Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. My prayer is we live each day to the fullest and thank God for every moment. As being diagnosed with a mental illness is not an easy thing to live with.

what should we know about Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
God has appointed me to be Visionary, Owner and Founder of Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Incorporation. The purpose of this non-profit, volunteer organization is to promote and support Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Incorporation. The mission of Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Incorporation to raise awareness around mental illness, mental health, suicide prevention, bullying and to educate those who are suffering under these conditions and to help stop the stigma, which will result in an educated community by introducing National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where I am a member, Certified Speaker and Facilitator. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. I will also introduce America Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), where I am a Junior Board Member. AFSP raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide. AFSP fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention, and advocate for policy that will save lives. Too many people at risk for suicide do not seek help. We need to find better ways to reach those who suffer and encourage schools, workplaces, and communities to make mental health a priority. My brother passed from suicide fifteen months ago, and because of this reason, I am passionate about helping someone that’s struggling with suicidal thinking and save lives. AFSP bring people who have been affected by suicide out of the darkness and give them opportunities to help others.

The purpose of this non-profit, volunteer organization is to promote and support Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Inc. The mission of Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Inc. is to raise awareness around mental illness, mental health, suicide prevention, bullying and to educate those who are suffering under these conditions and to help stop the stigma, which will result in an educated community by introducing National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where I am a member, Certified Speaker and Facilitator. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. I will also introduce America Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), where I am a Junior Board Member. AFSP raises awareness, funds scientific research and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide. AFSP fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention, and advocate for policy that will save lives. Too many people at risk for suicide do not seek help. We need to find better ways to reach those who suffer and encourage schools, workplaces, and communities to make mental health a priority. My brother passed from suicide, and because of this reason I am passionate in helping others struggling with suicidal thinking and save lives. AFSP bring people who have been affected by suicide out of the darkness and give them opportunities to help others. This movement is personal to my heart simply because I am a suicide survivor as well as a survivor of

a sibling that passed from suicide. The journey I am on has been very difficult with pain as well as encouraging myself to get into the community to spread the awareness of mental health, suicide, bullying and stopping the stigma around them all! I will start my Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose Conference and Book-Signing Tour starting June 3, 2018 in Atlanta Georgia. Why this cause is important: One in 5 Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment. The perception of mental illness won’t change unless we act to change it.

My passion to help save lives from suicide is what sets me apart. I have a gift that I am asking God to provide wisdom, understanding and power how to unleash His divine power on the enemy as he seeks to destroy God’s people. Venessa is humbled to be a Multi-Amazon Award Winning Author for: “Self-Discovery. A Daily Journey Daily Inspirational Book and Journal, “The Valley of Transfiguration: 40 Days with God in My Grief”, which was featured in the Huffington Post and Co-Author with twenty-three women on the “Soul Source Anthology Book”, under Visionary and Leader Cheryl Polote-Williamson, which was featured in Huffington Post Newspaper. She was a Contributing Writer with Owner, Sherrill Valdez of “Today’s Purpose Woman Magazine”, and member of the “Black Speakers Networking Group”. Venessa is the Radio Personality of Self-Discovery a Daily Journey that is aired on Steel City Gospel Internet Radio and BlogTalk Radio. She has also been a featured guest on Today’s Purpose Woman Roundtable, WGVE Radio Station, We Are Beautiful Magazine, Today’s Purpose Woman, Atlanta IBNX Radio, Atlanta WATC TV 57, Atlanta People TV- Channel 24, as well as a countless other Radio Shows and Platforms. Venessa is a passionate Mental Health Advocate that is a Certified Speaker and Teacher with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Junior Board Member of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). As well as a RESPECT Institute Certified Speaker. She is a member of the Duluth Business Association (DBA) where Duluth Business Owners network striving to connect business owners with each other for business collaboration. Venessa is also a member of Black Alliance Mental Health Alliance (BMHA) where BMHA focuses on experiences of mental illness across cultures and create improved cultural awareness and competence as needed in the behavioral and physical health care workforce. Venessa is also currently on an eight (number of new beginnings) multi-city tour from June through October 2018.

Venessa has also had the honor to Speak at Georgia State House at the Education Forum. Venessa is also the owner of Purpose & Prosperity Publishing Company that assist authors in sharing their message and becoming an award-winning author.

Self-Discovery – A Daily Journey with Venessa is the epitome of how we should embrace each day with the mindset of becoming better from trials, tribulations and the pains of life. As we tap into the mindset and understand the importance of change, repositioning and a mental shift will manifest.

Based on Venessa’s personal and practical life experiences, she is a firm believer that, “When we know better, we do better.” Therefore, as we walk life’s journey, it is expected that we mature mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually so we can grow into all that we are destined to be and be “extraordinary” and “set apart.” Hence, learning to embrace life to the fullest without lack.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
There are many opportunities for women to embrace and capitalize in and on. We as woman are built to multi-task, be great mothers, leaders as well as well-rounded people that can surely get the job done with excellence. Many of us, including myself take on multiple roles at one time, until it begins to feel normal to be able to function yielding high results. However, the truth of the matter is being gifted as a multi-tasker can create burnout that can leave us with a flicker flame, instead of the bright light that is to shine brightly before men. My personal opinion is, we as women can do whatever we put our mind to and everything we need is inside of us. We must have courage to step out in faith to do the very thing God has ordained for us to do without being apologetic!

Pricing:

  • Pain, Position, Purpose Mental Health Tour Registration $25

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Jay-o-graphy, Jarek James

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2 Comments

  1. Sherrell Valdezloqui

    July 3, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    I am so proud of you my beautiful sister. Continue to let God use you in the mighty way that He is.

    Bessings!

  2. Key Banks

    July 21, 2018 at 12:03 am

    I am so proud of all of your accomplishments, milestones, & strength. You wear ever blessing & triumph so well. There is so much more to experience and I cannot wait to see and experience God’s greatness in you! Sisterly proud beyond words.

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