Mental Illness is one of the biggest problems in society today.
One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue.
One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression.
One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
How does one move on after such a tragic loss?
Ethan Bean, like many young boys, loved Legos, trains, aviation, and music.
He was a deeply caring and intellectual young man, but he exhibited several behaviours as "atypical" as he struggled socially.
Ethan found himself in the juvenile justice system due to a mood regulation disorder.
However, he did well in school and had many interests including playing the saxophone (he earned his band letter for it), had aspirations to be a commercial airline pilot, and loved any form of transportation.
Ethan's life seemed to be improving: Ethan was working regularly at a job he enjoyed, he visited a college of his dreams, and he spent a vacation with his family in Arizona and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
For his approaching senior year in high school, he was registered in a dual-enrollment community college program.
Suddenly on August 24, 2018, Ethan took his own life.
Ethan’s parents, Erik and Stacey (LMSW), and his sister Blair were overwhelmed with grief.
After several months of working with a number of suicide survivors,
Erik and Stacey began to think about their son's legacy in a world where mental illness is on the rise and few regimented treatment programs are available.
Out of this, and One year later they established the non-profit foundation,
Ethan Bean Mental Wellness
the mental wellness charity was to help disseminate important information they saw affecting young people with regard to mental health.
The second part of this legacy then developed in the form of Ethan’s Healthy Mind Express,
a children’s book ( http://tinyurl.com/mentalhealthtrainbook ).
This brilliantly illustrated book is like none other addressing atypical, (the fastest growing population in the public school system) inclusion, and social media pitfalls that can lead to loneliness and isolation.
Some of the affects their son experienced.
How the authors and illustrator came together is truly ironic.
For example, having never met the illustrator prior to the book project,
Gail Gorske’s first book 10 years prior was about a young boy named
Emily Waszak’s first book 20 years prior was about grieving.
Erik originally wanted to write Ethan’s entire biography, but Emily nurtured the idea of a rhyming children’s book.
Close family friend, Sherry Wexler, was brought in to keep the story balanced.
Erik used his knowledge on ethnocentrism and psychological values that shape each of us, which were appropriately labeled the spheres of social influence.
A train was chosen since it was Ethan’s favorite mode of transportation.
The lessons on mental health including face-to-face discussions, self-respect, social networking pitfalls, and community awareness became the central theme.
The goal to share Ethan's legacy, his struggles and his magnificent smile has succeeded.
The hope is that Ethan's voice will never end and instead be heard by all as it serves to lead a conversation about mental health advocacy in the community, in schools, among religions, legislation, in institutions, in private practice, and at home.
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For more touching tributes see - Father who got a tattoo of his daughter's final drawing before she died