We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberlee Moayed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberlee, how does your business help the community?
I really appreciate the opportunity to check in again with Voyage. Thanks for being such a champion for local creatives and community organizers and businesses. Last time we connected I was on the brink of a new direction, although I hadn’t known it at the time. I was working on my Event Planning business and was lucky enough to have been recently asked to take over planning the local suicide prevention walk event benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Over the past 2 years, my involvement with the organization and passion for suicide prevention expanded much further than I expected.
I had not experienced such a profound “healing of loss” before I found AFSP. The nature of suicide grief is so unique and delicate that it’s often avoided and swept under the rug, as those affected struggle to understand. We wrestle with how to discuss our emotions and how to talk about the loved ones who have passed. We agonize over what others think. The internal screams of “what-ifs?” and the relentless bully of hindsight haunt every waking thought. The layers of stigma that are packed on to suicide are so thick, it can prevent those who need support from even looking for it. That’s where organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can help.
Volunteering with AFSP provided me, personally, with the support and drive I needed to place a small patch on my broken heart and help spread messages of hope. AFSP continues to provide that support nationally (and globally!) for those who have lost or those who struggle, as well as raising and providing funds for research, education, advocacy and community leadership for a world that is committed to mental health safety and understanding. AFSP sponsors seminars, education/training, loss support groups, community/campus walks, and so much more for our local Harris and Montgomery Counties as well as every corner of the United States. There are currently over 500 walks in all 50 states sending the message of awareness, hope and solidarity. Our annual “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” for Houston and surrounding areas will take place on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at Town Green Park in The Woodlands. The event is hopeful and supportive in nature, with memorial activities, speakers and ceremonies, children’s activities and entertainment planned. You can find out more at: afsp.org/houston.
Can you open up a bit about your volunteer work? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
With AFSP, I have a solid mission and it’s to bring more programs and awareness to the communication with the goal of prevention. I believe with basic education, we can become aware, as a community, of the signs of someone who may need help, which ultimately can save lives. Just as you learned to “stop, drop and roll,” you can be aware of what to look for and how to react in possible mental health crisis moments.
In addition to volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I have also been involved with the Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention Task Force created in Montgomery County by local Judge, Wayne Mack, and a group of other dedicated community leaders that work with and are affected by mental health and suicide. After a remarkable turnout of volunteers at a community Call to Action event last May, the BHSP Task Force has grown into 14 dedicated subcommittees working towards the goal of lower suicide rates and providing behavioral health resources and support. I currently work with the Training & Community Development subcommittee curating resource lists and scheduling training and educational programs, as well as with the Marketing subcommittee helping to create graphic design elements such as logos, digital art, and the website.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I can credit much of my optimism and drive to my family, as well as some really wonderfully supportive friends along the way. One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln: “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” My mother taught me so much about kindness, compassion and consideration, as she was specifically tuned in to others who struggled and buried herself with worry about how to help them. Despite her lifetime battle with depression, she was genuinely warm-hearted, funny, altruistic and outgoing and I owe much of moral character to her. However, the difficulties of those who live with a mental illness are vast, complex and extremely emotional for all those connected. Losing my mother to suicide in 2010 was a tragic event that sometimes still doesn’t feel real. Without the support of my father, my sister, my husband and children, my wonderful extended family and friends, and my big, awesome suicide prevention tribe, I truly would be lost. I owe my own mental health to this support system and strongly encourage others who are affected by suicide to reach out and find a system that works for them.
If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here are ways to help:
Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can learn more about its services here, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454. To text the Crisis Text Line, send HOME to 741741 for a confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor.