A few years ago, I experienced one of the most heart-wrenching moments a parent can face. I found myself in an emergency room, looking at my own child who had just attempted suicide. It was a brutal shock that left me questioning everything I thought I knew about my family’s mental health.

I’d spent my career at USANA Health Sciences, a company dedicated to promoting physical health. But in that sterile hospital room, it became painfully clear that we hadn’t given enough attention to mental health. The experience ignited in me a fierce determination to change this — for my family, my company and society at large.

As I navigated this crisis, therapy helped me understand the importance of openly addressing suicide. I had initially feared that discussing it would plant dangerous seeds in my child’s mind. However, my therapist made it clear that it’s not only OK but necessary to say the word “suicide” directly. Avoiding the topic can actually exacerbate feelings of isolation and despair.

Embracing this realization led me to the Promise to Live pledge. This pledge involves promising to reach out to trusted resources when struggling personally and sharing this commitment with others. It’s a proactive step toward prioritizing mental health and suicide prevention, embodying a promise to live, seek help when needed and encourage others to do the same.

At USANA Health Sciences, we’ve taken this pledge to heart. We’ve actively encouraged our associates to make this commitment because we believe that true health encompasses both body and mind. We must do more to understand and nurture our mental well-being, just as we do our physical health.

Related
Suicides in the U.S. are at an all-time high
Record demand for 988 suicide prevention, mental health hotline

Professional therapy played a crucial role in my family’s journey. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a vital tool for managing mental health. It’s beneficial for those struggling with mental health issues and their loved ones alike. I still attend therapy and advocate for the normalization of mental health. Like treating a physical illness, seeking professional help for mental health should be seen as a standard, not a stigma.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is September, and World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10, but the urgency to act is now. We can’t afford to wait until we’re personally affected by mental health issues or suicide. Taking the pledge at Promise2Live.org takes little time but can potentially save lives.

My call to action is simple: Let’s normalize conversations about mental health. Let’s remove the stigma surrounding therapy. Let’s make the promise to live. It’s not just about raising awareness; it’s about making a difference, one promise at a time.

Join us today at Promise2Live.org. Make your pledge, and together we can create a world where mental health is discussed, understood and prioritized. Because every life matters, and every promise brings us one step closer to a healthier, more compassionate world.

Kevin Guest is the executive chairman of USANA Health Sciences.