WINSTON-SALEM, NC-- Staff Sergeant Erick Millette spoke to a crowd of people about overcoming PTSD and erasing the stigma attached to mental illness.
On Saturday, dozens of people heard Staff Sergeant Erick Millette's story. He survived nine improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and was knocked unconscious six times. Throughout his time in the army, he suffered head trauma, a left knee injury, and lower back injuries. Despite all that, it was the post-traumatic stress disorder that has been the hardest to overcome.
Millette told WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford that he reached rock bottom about a year ago. He was severely depressed and considered suicide. He turned to alcohol to cope with the feeling of isolation. That's when Millette turned to The Wounded Warrior Project. He says it saved his life.
Now he tells people his story and encourages others dealing with mental illness to seek help and embrace life. That's what he did Saturday at Miller Park in Winston-Salem.
Embrace Life Day was a free event with food, entertainment, games, and most of all, hope. Millette shared his story as an inspiration to others. Forty local organizations had booths set up with resources and information to assist people coping with mental illness.
Organizer, Michelle Hughes said she wanted to see all the organizations come together to give people living with mental illness a united voice. She wanted the event to offer hope for recovery by erasing the stigma.
The Mayor of Winston-Salem, Allen Joines and North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory set letters in response to the Embrace Life Day. Click the attached PDF files to view them.
Learn more here: The Mental Health Association in Forsyth County
WFMY News 2