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New Milestones “Defying Depression” Talk at JCC Austin

  • October 04, 2014

I knew it was going to be a magical day when Susan Sager from New Milestones Foundation handed me a handful of silver hearts. "These are milagros," she said, "do you know what this means?" Miracles. I knew the answer to that. If nothing else, the translation of Decidí Vivir has taught me to believe in miracles. Susan explained that the hearts are pockmarked and irregular to symbolize that we are loved even with our imperfections. Susan Sager from New Milestones Foundation That day I needed a few miracles. On the plane to Austin, I realized I'd left my speech on the counter in Dallas. That's okay I assured myself, you have it on your IPad. After Val Newberg's kind and generous introduction, I took the stage. My IPad flickered, sputtered, then went blank. Sometimes I get the message loud and clear and this was one of those times. Put away your notes. Speak from the heart. Luckily my cousin support group was there in full force (David Levy, Arielle Levy, Rebecca Levy, Cheryl Levy and Brooke Hersh-Thompson). David agreed to hold my little Nikon camera to record my speech so we could provide the link...

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GISD talk with TeenCONTACT on September 23

  • September 24, 2014

photo sent by Andreina Lira - thank you Andreina! I had the extreme priviledge yesterday to speak with TeenCONTACT to about 600 middle and high school students from the Garland ISD about suicide prevention and brain health. Spoke with GISD parents in the evening on a panel - about 80 parents showed for that. Honored to be on the stage with Brent Blackburn from EYL. Brent told the heartbreaking story about the loss of his brother to suicide - with a strong message - "Leadership is less about what you say and more about what you do." I followed Brent, shared my story and talked about brain health protection. Favorite part, as always, the Q&A. Sample of questions: - do you still suffer from depression? YES, but I consciously manage my behavior to self correct if my depression seems to be growing past just being sad. - how do you manage it? talked about being the scientest of my own behavior. I try to study my own moods and figure out patterns. If I'm illogically sad on a consistent day, I try to figure out if I am doing something that triggers the problem. For example i shared the...

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Talk at Garland ISD Today, September 23

  • September 23, 2014

Talking with Garland ISD today in the morning to middle school and high schoolers and tonight for parents. I won't have a long speaking time, but want to list my Top Ten for wellness that I use when I speak at The Unversity of Notre Dame and other college campuses. This top ten list began as a Psychology Today blog that's received over 13,000 hits, and has been refined as I gain more information from my own research and exposure from talks with students. Uniformly when I speak to college counseling centers I am told - "This needs to reach students BEFORE they come to college. By the time they reach college, habits are set and hard to change." Thank you Garland ISD for teaching students early and giving them the knowledge they need to maintain their mental health. I'm listing it again here to make it easy for Garland ISD parents and students to find! Top Ten for Mental Health Brain Protection for College Students Julie Kosnik Hersh Mental illness, like many diseases, is prime a example of “what comes first?” Do genetics cause mental illness or does the environment breed it? The answer is...

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Robin Williams - Can we Stay Focused on Mental Health?

  • August 15, 2014

Robin Williams - can we stay focused? Whenever a major celebity or notable figure dies by suicide, heck whenever friends I know hear about a suicide, I can always expect a phone call or two from people encouraging me to keep up with my work. This week, there were tons of phone calls. Robin Williams touched the lives of so many - touched my life as well. I'm old enough to remember "Mork and Mindy," so my joy from Robin Williams goes way back. What a talent. What an incredible man. I'm so sad that he's gone for our sakes, and also for the sake of his family. Knowing what he battled, I am glad that he brilliantly battled for so long. In one of the interviews I did this week, a person asked if I thought stories like Robin Williams will make a difference. They do, but my concern is the focus is in the wrong place if we ever want to get ahead of the disease. I've seen this happen too many times. Someone who supposedly "has it all" dies by suicide and everyone is upset for 24 hours, 48 hours or maybe a week. We...

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Decidí Vivir Está Listo en Amazon!!

  • June 20, 2014

This has been an amazing project! 

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Honor Courage Commitment Inspires 3,600 to Awareness

  • April 30, 2014

What an incredible month! The push-up initiative mentioned in my last blog spurred over 3,600 people to post videos of themselves doing 22 push-ups to honor those who serve and remember that 22 veterans a day are dying by suicide. I just wrote a Psychology Today article about this amazing experience with Honor Courage and Commitment entitled: Intrinsic Motivation: The Missing Link in Mental Health Care. The photo above is the jumbotron from the Texas Rangers game against the Philadelphia. The Texas Rangers have been phenomenal, helping us spread the word and with their own push-ups too! In addition, I traveled with the Director of the Hersh Foundation, Kristi Bernstein to the kickoff of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute on April 16. Amazing set of panelists spoke about the progress on mental health intitiatves in Texas. Texas still has a long way to go, but Meadows will help lead the way. On April 28 I participated in the live feed viewing of the Center for BrainHealth's Inaugural BrainHealth Summit. Again another series of fabulous panelists. One of whom, Dr. Bror Saxenberg, Cheif Leraning Officer at Kaplan, inspired me to look into this concept of Intrinsic Motivation, which I talk about in my PT...

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SBL first Quarter 2014 Update

  • March 27, 2014

Me (Julie) with the black ring earned for Honor Courage Commitment It's been an exciting couple of months at the start of 2014, so exciting that I have been completely remiss about putting anything on the website. We have lots of good news! For those who want a quick list of the new Psychology Today blog posts since I last wrote, here's the link. First I've hired Kristi Bernstein as Director of the Hersh Foundation. Kristi is going to help me organize all the activities for Struck by Living as well as our family foundation. She will be blogging on this site occasionally, helping me keep up with all the latest news.Here's a photo of Kristi so you can know who she is. A mother of three, Kristi loves to travel and this picture was taken at a museum in Lillihammer, Norway. Kristi (on the right) with her new mannequin friend. So what the heck have I been doing? Let's work backwards because I am having such a great time today. I did an interview with Andy Nguyen about Honor Courage Commitment, HCC, a fabulous organization that helps veterans transition into cilivian life. Here's...

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UT Southwestern Grand Rounds

  • December 12, 2013

Very exciting event last week. I was asked to speak at UT Southwestern Psychiatric Grand Rounds. Engaging event, lots of great questions. I want to post the latest Struck by Living Stay Well list here - as I promised some I would publish this digitally for them. Special thanks to Dr. Madhukar Trivedi for this opportunity! Struck by Living Top Ten for Mental Health Brain Protection for Adults– Julie K. Hersh Mental illness, like many diseases, is prime example of “what comes first?” Do genetics cause mental illness or does the environment breed it? I always answer “both” to this question. How we react to our environment determines our mental health, oftentimes more than the environment itself. We’ve all seen one person devastated by failure or disappointment, while another person uses that same situation as motivation for future success. As Charles Darwin said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is that one that is the most adaptable to change." This list has undergone various iterations – showing that a mental health list changes for different phases of life. The first five items...

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October Events - ND, Galapagos, Pscyhology Today and Managing Depression article

  • October 27, 2013

October has been one of those months where I look back and think - how did this all happen? The month began with seeing an amazing production of "Raisin in the Sun" at the Dallas Theater Center. Incredible show, Liz Mikel as Lena gave an outstanding performance as well as Bowman Wright as Walter. Written over 50 years ago, this show tackles tough issues of poverty, family dynamics and competing dreams. Although it's constantly advertised as a show about race, I believe that narrow focus misses the point. This is a show about supression of dreams and resilience. What Hansberry (the late playwright) does so deftly is she writes a character that is flawed, but empathetic. This is great, great writing. I know I saw this movie years ago with Sidney Poitier, but the themes resonated so much more strongly seeing it as an adult. After watching a stunning ND victory over ASU on October 5, I headed up to ND to give a talk about managing mental health at college. The ND student body had their first week-long focus on mental health - calling it the "Irish State of Mind." All sorts of activities spanned the week including my talk,...

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Think Pink: University of Notre Dame/NAMI Project Hope Walk

  • October 04, 2012

The Notre Dame/NAMI Project Hope Walk, artfully orchestrated by ND Senior Amanda Bruening, took place on a crystal clear fall day starting at the “Rock” (Knute Rockne Memorial Gym). About 200 people donned white t-shirts and listened to Amanda tell the story about her younger sister who died by suicide at age 12. Amanda showed the unwavering conviction of a Survivor determined to change the way the world’s view of mental illness. I’ve been to a lot of these events in the past two years. Amanda’s heartfelt eloquence on that bright fall day stands out in my mind as one of the best I’ve heard. Registration prior to the walk Julie Hersh, Amanda Bruening, Tom Seeberg We then headed across campus and for a walk around St. Mary’s lake. I wish I’d thought to take a photo, but I was too busy talking with an impressive young ND freshman (Juan Jose Daboub) and other ND students. The leaves are just beginning to turn – flecks of yellow and red. The walk culminated at The Grotto, built in memory of St. Bernadette’s grotto at Lourdes. Many...

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Testimonial

"Hersh's page-turner story is very informative about the state of mind of people experiencing very high suicide risk; to take two examples, perceived burdensomeness and social isolation.  I'm relieved for her and for all of us that she survived.  Struck by Living shows a life beyond suicidality, filled with possibility."

Thomas Joiner
Thomas Joiner, The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Florida State University, Author of Why People Die by Suicide and Myths About Suicide
About Struck By Living

In Struck by Living, Julie Hersh picks apart the irony of her life with humor and brutal honesty. Despite a loving husband, healthy children, financial security, Julie attempted suicide three times. With the help of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), Julie broke the deadly course of her disorder. Now well, Julie promotes the importance of mental health with collaborations with other artists and organizations.

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