Stephan Iaboni: My Meaning & Purpose

Mstephan-iaboniy entire life I felt like I never quite “fit in.” I always felt like I was drifting because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do when I grew up. Nothing I did in life related to life, school, or work satisfied me. In 2003, both my parents died, and I began my fall into depression. The fall lasted 12 years, I told no one, and culminated with 6.5 years of isolation. I finally sought help in 2015 and spent 27 days in the psychiatric ward (not ashamed) and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with a side order of anxiety.

From the moment I went into the hospital, I was treated with compassion and cared for as if I were family. As part of my recovery, I completed PET training with RI International in August 2016. During PET, I found my meaning and purpose in life. I simply want to try to help those with mental illness live a productive life, achieving whatever their goals are in life. I also want help others overcome the stigma associated with mental illness and realize they are valuable people who deserve good things in life. Once I found my purpose in life, I became a calmer person and life slowed down for me to start enjoying it. I simply want that sense of calm and peace for everyone.

I began working at the Wellness City in Wilmington, NC in November 2016 and I am now the Team Lead. I feel driven each day to make the people who come into our facility feel comfortable in a safe place where they belong. I understand the hesitancy to come here for the first time because there was a time in my life I would not have come in either. I am also driven by the need to be compassionate to everyone who comes in the building each day as a way of returning the compassion I was shown in 2015. I am blessed that my job allows me to do that each day.

Zero Suicide International 4: Rotterdam Declaration (2018)

On September 3 – 4, 2018, more than 100 leaders from nearly 20 countries convened at the Zero Suicide International 4 summit in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Here they designed the revision of the 2015 International Zero Suicide Declaration. The declaration you are about to read now clarifies the commitment of these leaders to improve healthcare suicide prevention as a complement to public health and community suicide prevention initiatives.