The rise in Suicide in Northern Ireland has been described by the press as an epidemic and indeed figures show that more people took their own lives in the 16 years after the Troubles than died during them. The Office of National Statistics recently reported that in 2014, Northern Ireland had the highest rate of suicide in the UK for the third consecutive year with 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.
These figures are staggering showing that mental health problems and its consequences are very much on the public agenda in Northern Ireland and much needs to be done to raise mental health awareness and help local people and charities stamp out the stigma associated with it.
With so many families touched and affected by mental ill health and suicide, Felicia Johnson, international speaker and renowned author, will be visiting Northern Ireland from America this month to show that speaking out, is a positive thing and to spread a message of hope and survival during Mental Health Month. As an abuse survivor herself, Felicia will be telling her profound story of depression, self-harm, homelessness and ultimately survival.
Felicia is keen to work with local people, groups and governments to help raise awareness of mental health issues around the world, and increase support and understanding for sufferers. She will be speaking at a number location around Belfast on the 23rd to 25th October.
Ten years of experience working in the field provided Felicia with remarkable insight and understanding of these complex illnesses. With a survival story of her own paired with clinical training, she is eager to offer support and advice to many sufferers. Felicia can offer audiences a holistic perspective on mental health and can speak on many topics, especially the delicate topic of approaching the subject of mental health with colleagues, friends and family members.
Felicia is a best-selling author who highlights the reality of mental health in her books “Her”, and the recently published “OK Danny Boy.” Focusing on issues such as Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, and self-harm in the novels, Felicia sheds light on a topic that many shy away from.
Born in Pennsylvania, USA, Johnson is motivated to raise awareness internationally;
“I’m looking forward to coming to Northern Ireland this month to meet with organisations who help people who have gone through the things that I have survived. I know how important it is to seek help, and how much work these organisations to help sufferers. I’m glad to get to work alongside them and promote awareness of mental health, and stamp out the stigma.
“My book is a story of hope, and that’s what I want to provide sufferers with – hope in their difficult journey.”
“Her” is a novel that provides insight into the life of young girl, Kristen, with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who courageously peels back the layers of her complex and serious mental illness in a desperate attempt to understand it.
With a passion to stamp out the stigma, Felicia has started a social media movement SOS with the desire to provide community and support for those suffering from similar hardships at https://www.facebook.com/SOS-Stamp-out-Stigma
Felicia will be speaking at the following locations:
- Monday 23 October at 10am – MindWise
- Monday 23 October at 7pm – The Pocket, Belfast
- Tuesday 24 October at 7pm – SAMHI