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  • Vermilion Voice

Work-Stress-Life Seminar Removes Stigma

"People think depression is sadness, crying or dressing in black, but people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb," said Committee Chair, Darla Yonkman.

Speaker Neil Harris gave a presentation entitled ‘Tough Enough To Talk About It’ where he spoke about identifying the signs when a co-worker or person is in distress.

Every one of the 175 people in attendance raised their hands when asked if they knew anyone who had died from suicide.

“If you notice that a co-worker has changed in behavior, for example in appearance or being present but not being fully present and able to focus. If you can take that person into a private place and ask them ‘what’s going on?’ or ‘how are you really doing? allow them to open up and just listen without judging.” said Harris.

He shared personal depression experiences caused by a suicide death. “It can happen to anyone. Seek help early before things get really difficult for you and people close,” said Harris.

Ariel Haubrich addressed addiction in her presentation ‘Stress, Drugs, Rock N Roll’.

Committee Chair for the conference, Darla Yonkman said she aims to make the event become an annual event.

“Our speakers all brought their own unique life experiences, and that is great to hear because people who are struggling can relate and say that sounds like me and he/she has got help. I feel it went really well and I heard a lot of people talking during the conference say that they have taken away a lot and they were glad they came. The most important message to take away from today is knowing that it’s okay to say I’m not okay and I think I need some help,” said Yonkman.

Speaker Allan Kehler enlightened with his seminar ‘Goodbye Stress, Hello Life’ in the afternoon.

“Countless people are in pain, and yet many individuals lack the tools to manage their pain. They walk through life masking their emotions while they smile on the outside but cry on the inside. Sadly, many suffer in silence. For years this was me,” Motivational speaker Allan Kehler told the crowd as he shared experiences of depression from his own life.

“After years of walking around like a victim I finally understood that if I wanted to change, I was the only person in a position of power to create this change. I discovered that my voice was my greatest tool, and I began to ask for what I needed. Today, I speak in the hopes of empowering others to use their voices in times of need. In the same way, I teach people how to respond to those who are in pain. Nobody needs to be fixed, but the value of being seen and heard is immeasurable,” added Kehler.

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