Imagine running down a dark tunnel trying to make it out the other side. Only, with every step you take, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to get further and further away. And then as you run faster in hopes of chasing down the light, the tunnel only seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Eventually, you have no room left inside to run and the tunnel consumes you. While this might sound like a bad dream, it is a reality for millions of people around the world.


Scientifically, mental illness can be classified as a chemical imbalance and it’s quick for an intelligent community of specialists to assume that we can fix that imbalance through pharmaceutical intervention. However, no number of drugs prescribed for depression will ever provide a solution to why that individual is depressed in the first place. Maybe their life has recently been turned upside down. Maybe they’ve lost all their direction in life. Regardless of who, what or why they are depressed, a Prozac a day isn’t a solution. At a time where the loss of loved ones has become normalized, we need to do more than just watch. We need to do more than just prescribe pills and assume everything is better. We need to start embracing the presence of others in our lives. We need to realize, now, just how precious each person surrounding us truly is. If we want to live a better life in a better world, we need to start actively changing the way that we go about mental illness. Our current situation is not and should not be acceptable. While I do believe there are positives to anti-depressants, I find it ironic that the only “solution” we’re able to give our loved ones are prescription drugs that identify suicidal thoughts and suicide as possible side effects.


Is our best option right now really to prescribe those that need our help a drug that could potentially make them want to hurt themselves even more?

vincent giardino wake up wakeboarding

And that “solution” is only viable for the few that choose to seek help.


We can do more.


We need to do more.


We’ve all been touched by suicide in some way or another, whether it was a family member, a close friend, or that kid in school that you never really talked to much but would have if you knew they needed help.


How were we supposed to help when we didn’t know they needed help?


I can tell you how much that question hurts. It sucks. I’ve asked myself that question more than once and each time it’s been harder to answer. I’ve already lost someone that I would’ve done anything to save. I’ve already lost someone that I would give up anything just to spend one more day with. I’ve even had those moments where I was willing to give everything up for one more minute, one more hug, just one more chance to see them face to face.


If you’ve lost someone near and dear to your heart, I know your pain. And if by some miracle you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. But don’t let luck run out before you decide to join the movement. Step up and lead the fight because I sincerely hope you’re not within the splash zone of the next tragedy.

It is none of our faults, however at the same time it is all our faults. There are 123 suicides every single day in the United States and the number of attempted suicides is 25 times that. The world is slowly engulfing the lives of those around us and we don’t even know it. Mental illness is growing in huge numbers around the globe, but we don’t talk about it. People of all ages are taking medicine for depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder but they don’t tell their friends for fear of what they’ll think of them.


Medicine is never going to solve the underlying issue. We need to eliminate the driving forces of mental illness from our society. There are over 200 classified mental illnesses but nine out of every ten people don’t understand what mental illness actually is.


My name is Vincent Giardino and I am the founder of The Wake Up Project. Consider this a personal invitation for you to join the fight against suicide and put an end to the tragedy that is not only killing our loved ones but destroying a piece of each and every one of us with them. Stand with me, stand with us, stand with them.