Santa Barbara resident Lee Ann MacMillan was identified for publicly advocating for psychological well being consciousness on social media platforms, and within the month since her loss of life, family and friends members have began a fundraising marketing campaign in her title to proceed the necessary messaging.
In late March, Santa Barbara police recognized her as an at-risk lacking grownup who “was expressing suicidal ideation for the final month” and had made particular statements incidating that “she could also be desiring to hurt herself.”
Later that day, police recognized her as the girl who was struck and killed by a practice in Santa Barbara.
MacMillan, 28, was a Canadian citizen from Barrie, Ontario, who had been residing domestically since final fall. She had lived with despair up to now, and had made just a few candid YouTube movies speaking about her struggles and the way she had gotten via them, MacMillan’s boyfriend, Jordan Chiu, instructed Noozhawk.
“Lee was so candid and open as somebody who, from the skin, had every little thing on paper,” Chiu mentioned. “She was somebody folks seemed as much as, she had a life lots of people dreamed of, and it simply goes to indicate you that you simply by no means know what somebody goes via.
“For somebody who was so self-aware and knew the issues she wanted to do, and wasn’t scared to ask for assist, the truth that she might nonetheless succumb to this sickness actually shocked everybody who knew her.”
Now, MacMillan’s household and family members have created a GoFundMe campaign in MacMillan’s title in hopes of spreading a message and elevating consciousness about psychological well being, Chiu mentioned.
“If we are able to do one factor for Lee now, within the midst of this soul-crushing loss, it’s to unfold the message that psychological well being is simply as actual as bodily well being, and that sickness can strike anybody, regardless of how unlikely they might appear,” the outline of the GoFundMe reads.
Chiu and MacMillan’s household are going to donate 100% of the donations raised within the marketing campaign to assist native and nationwide psychological well being advocacy and consciousness organizations, he added.
“The one factor sort of getting me via it proper now’s the thought that her message and her story might doubtlessly save others from going via the identical factor,” Chiu mentioned. “If we may help scale back the stigma of speaking about psychological well being, it offers a little bit which means to one thing that was mindless.”
The marketing campaign raised $100,000 inside 24 hours, in accordance with Chiu. As of Saturday, greater than 3,100 donors had raised greater than $140,000.
“The outpouring completely blew us away; it was so real and so appreciated,” Chiu mentioned. “It gave a little bit glimmer of hope within the early days that this was one thing that was going to make a distinction and that this dialog that we have been beginning would matter.”
The donations will go to organizations that advocate for 3 issues: normal psychological well being consciousness, lowering the stigma round suicide and combating cyberbullying, Chiu mentioned.
“Psychological well being is as actual as coronary heart illness or most cancers. These aren’t issues that folks get blamed for having, and so they’re not illnesses that folks really feel like they will’t discuss,” Chiu mentioned. “Lee was getting assist and was making an attempt to unfold consciousness, however the stigma continues to be there.”
Lee Ann MacMillan with boyfriend Jordan Chiu. (Contributed picture)
With the appearance of social media, there are platforms the place folks can communicate anonymously and don’t should face the implications of their phrases, Chiu mentioned.
He mentioned MacMillan had been a sufferer of cyberbullying a number of instances up to now, and mentioned it “actually contributed to her stresses and her sickness.”
“Lee’s struggles together with her psychological well being have been additionally compounded in her final months of life by persistent and infrequently vicious cyberbullying, and we need to drive house the purpose that cyberbullying has real-life penalties — the folks on the opposite facet of the display screen have actual lives, actual emotions and actual struggles of their very own,” the GoFundMe description learn.
MacMillan’s Instagram account, @lifewithlee, has greater than 83,000 followers, her personal YouTube channel has practically 54,000 subscribers and her YouTube channel with her ex-boyfriend has greater than 500,0000 subscribers.
“There’s cyberbullying that comes from having a platform and being a creator, and I feel that folks neglect that these are actual folks,” Chiu mentioned. “Lee was such a feeler, so compassionate and considerate, and even these little jabs can actually harm.”
Having a assist system and realizing the place and when to achieve out is vital when coping with psychological well being, in accordance with Suzanne Grimmesey, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.
“After we get impacted by issues, it’s our expertise with the occasion extra so than the occasion itself,” Grimmesey instructed Noozhawk. “If our expertise contains getting assist, having assist and feeling supported, it’s going to create resiliency. We’d like that resiliency to maintain us going via the arduous instances.”
The GoFundMe marketing campaign is a short-term undertaking to offer folks a method to funnel their emotions, unhappiness and their wanting to assist, Chiu mentioned, including that he and MacMillan’s household are engaged on making a nonprofit basis in MacMillan’s title later down the highway.
“Her household and I’ll grieve this perpetually, but when her story, her battle, her advocacy and the work that we’re going to have the ability to do with the funds we’ve raised helps only one particular person, that’s our objective,” Chiu mentioned. “For anybody who’s going via despair or psychological sickness, there may be hope and it may well get higher.
“It’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to ask for assist. It’s completely essential to ask for assist.”
The significance of taking good care of oneself and in search of assistance is heightened much more so throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Grimmesey mentioned. The county’s 24/7 Behavioral Wellness Access Line noticed the amount of calls skyrocket when the pandemic first erupted in March 2020, she added.
“There hasn’t been a day when there’s not a excessive quantity of calls coming in,” she mentioned. “It’s completely vital that each particular person, whether or not you’re feeling kind of influence, takes care of their psychological well being.”
Click here for access to the county’s Community Wellness Team, or name 805.364.2750 to get linked to extra psychological well being assets.
“The causes of suicide are advanced and decided by a number of mixtures of things, similar to psychological sickness, substance abuse, painful losses, publicity to violence and social isolation,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Warning indicators which will imply somebody is in danger embody:
» Speaking about eager to die or kill oneself
» Searching for a method to kill oneself
» Speaking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose to dwell
» Speaking about feeling trapped or being in insufferable ache
» Speaking about being a burden to others
» Rising the usage of alcohol or medicine
» Appearing anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
» Sleeping too little or an excessive amount of
» Withdrawing or feeling remoted
» Exhibiting rage or speaking about in search of revenge
» Displaying excessive temper swings
“The danger is bigger if the conduct is new, or has elevated, and if it appears associated to a painful occasion, loss or change,” in accordance with the SAMHSA.
Should you imagine somebody could also be desirous about suicide:
» Name 911, if hazard for self-harm appears imminent.
» Ask them if they’re desirous about killing themselves. (This won’t put the concept into their head or make it extra possible that they are going to try suicide.)
» Pay attention with out judging and present you care.
» Stick with the particular person (or be sure the particular person is in a personal, safe place with one other caring particular person) till you may get additional assist.
» Take away any objects that may very well be utilized in a suicide try.
» Name SAMHSA’s Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255) and observe its steerage.