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Expect the Unexpected, Avoid the Winner’s Vortex

  • November 16, 2014

I'm writing this blog the day after my alma mater's (University of Notre Dame) stunning loss to Northwestern. No one expected Northwestern to win. My son Daniel, a sophomore at Northwestern, met me and my husband in South Bend for some in-person-intra-family football trash talk. Even Daniel deemed the game an impossible long shot for the Wildcats. My dread at the field goal that set the game into overtime was only partially offset by his giddiness. The thrill of an underdog upset (if you're the underdog), is one of life's gems. I remember feeling that way a few weeks ago, right before the official called back ND's touch down in the FSU game. The experience of ND's loss combined with other events this week amplified a question in my mind. Does depression in high  achievers happen because success steals the possibility of an underdog upset?  With the constant expectation of success, winning becomes a no-win proposition. If you win, great, you should. If you lose, you're not just a failure but an underachiever.  One of the reasons most of us love sports is because on any given day, any...

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Decidí Vivir Celebration

  • November 03, 2014

When I asked Jorge Correa about what we should do to launch Decidí Vivir to reach Spanish speakers, he wisely advised, “Latinos will come to a party, but they are not going to come to a talk about depression!” Listening to his advice, we garnered some good food and drink and put our depression experts on a glistening green-blue stage with a castle in the background. I knew it was going to be an interesting night when a young from the catering staff asked if he could have a book. “My brother,” he told me, “Killed himself when he was 19.” We spent several minutes talking before the event. It was clear this young man had not told his story to many people, certainly not a stranger he had just met. But as has happened many times before, being open about my story swings wide the door so others can release theirs. He seemed visibly relieved to know that someone else could listen without judgment. I told him as I tell all people who have lost loved ones: “What your loved one did is not out of lack of love for you.” ...

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Celebration Book Release Decidí Vivir by Author, Julie K. Hersh

  • October 09, 2014

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Hersh Foundation will present a celebration of the book release, Decidí Vivir on Tuesday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Dallas Children’s Theater - Rosewood Center for Family Arts located at 5938 Skillman Street. In a collaboration of culture unique to Dallas, Texas, four families from three different countries have worked together to bring a story of hope to those suffering from depression. “This book is a collaboration of kindness” Dallas resident and Chilean native Andrés Correa heard Struck by Living author Julie Hersh speak on KERA when Hersh originally released her book in 2010. Struck by Living traces Hersh’s trek through depression and recovery beginning with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Knowing that his mother suffered from depression, Andrés recommended the book to his father, Jorge Correa, Spanish Teacher and Community Service Director at St. Mark’s School of Texas. Jorge then translated the book page by page into Spanish, reading it to his wife as she received treatment in UTSW, the place where coincidentally Hersh had been hospitalized. When Jorge reached out to Julie to thank her for writing ...

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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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Testimonial

"Splendid! Struck by Living details the debilitating illness that many of us have battled. Julie’s honesty enables readers to understand the serious damage caused by depression and the happiness unleashed in recovery."

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson, former president of CNN and publisher of the LA Times and Dallas Times Herald
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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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