By Scott Brook
The Mental Wellness Networking Alliance was born out of two tragedies. The first occurred the day after my daughter Tina was born when I was 23 years old. I lost my dear loving Mom to suicide. My sisters, Dad and I were shocked and numb. She seemed a little down but we had no idea she was severely depressed let alone suicidal.
The second tragedy occurred on March 23, 2019 in our community. We lost a beautiful young man, Calvin Decir, to suicide. He was the second teenager in a week to lose his life to suicide as a result of what they experienced during the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas on February 14, 2018.
While I had just become Mayor again four days before and did not know Calvin I knew I had to do something different to save lives and eliminate the stigma of mental illness. With the help of various community leaders and my dear friend Kimberly Coutinho, we formed MWNA in April of 2019.
We are now a 501 c3 and Calvin’s father, Brenton Wright, is our Vice President. I am the President and we have a loving Board. Our Vision is that we live in a world where Mental Wellness is equally as vital as Physical Wellness. Our three primary focus areas are treatment, education and advocacy.
We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 6 pm at Keller Williams in Coral Springs thanks to Scott Bagoon for open dialogue to break the stigma and share resources. It’s not uncommon to have four or more mental health professionals join us.
In May we held a fundraiser to support Eagles Haven at the Center for the Arts at an Art event called Voices of Angels. The idea was the brainchild of Anastasia Pitanova to shine the light on artists whose mental health struggles were at least in part resolved through their art. It was a beautiful event and the best part of it was having over 200 people feel safe to talk about and listen to numerous mental health journeys.
Let’s face it. We all seek mental wellness. We MUST be able to openly discuss mental illness to get the resources we all need and that ARE available. MWNA is committed to help connect the dots, share resources and hope and provide a safe space to share kindness and non-judgment. If you’d like to be a part of our movement, text me at
954-494-9872. Type in MWNA. You can also email me at Scott@mentalwellness.org or visit www.mentalwellnessnetwork.org
If you are struggling with mental health, we encourage you to connect with a list of online resources at www.mentalwellnessnetwork.org