When John started exhibiting changes in his behavior, it was natural to believe it was due to getting older. On the outside, he was fit and healthy. On the inside, we had no idea he was suffering in silence. We lost the most amazing person in the world because, like so many people, John was unwilling or unable to talk about what he was going through and ask for help. By the time we realized the extent of his illness, we were in crisis and did not know where to turn for information, treatment or support. We only wish we had the tools available to help before it was too late.
Friends, we are sharing our painful story and what we have learned with you so that no one else has to go through what our family went through. Our goal, through the work of our family foundation, is to honor John's memory by increasing awareness of mental health resources and helping to reduce the stigma around mental illness. Isolation and secrecy make mental illness worse. We have learned the importance of treating mental health like any other health issue in order to reduce the stigma. We want to increase public awareness that good health involves both mind and body.
Good brain fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Our brains can't do push-ups or run laps, but we can train our brains to minimize the harmful effects of stress and achieve balance in our lives. Exercising our bodies releases endorphins and keeps us fit. Not everyone knows that there are simple things we can do on a regular basis to combat toxic stress, like: connecting with neighbors, family and friends; meditating; and mindfully focusing on one task at a time.
As the longtime owners of a fitness and wellness center in Wellington, our family has seen firsthand the importance of a mind-body connection for optimal health. Our business has always offered a holistic approach to fitness and wellness, offering services like massage, meditation and nutrition counseling. We can see the change in our members' faces and in their moods from when they enter to when they leave our center.
By supporting Palm Healthcare Foundation's Train the Brain campaign through our family's foundation, we hope to create awareness of the importance of taking care of our brains just as we care for our bodies. People should think of the brain as something that can be improved: work it and it can get stronger. In prioritizing brain health in a relatable way, we hope every resident can walk away with actionable steps to better their whole health: mind, body, and soul.
Friends, please consider donating today. Our family supports Palm Healthcare Foundation because we know it has a proven track record of creating awareness around important health issues and connecting Palm Beach County residents to resources. Partnering with Palm Healthcare Foundation gives us the opportunity to broaden our reach and change the conversation around mental health, while leveraging the foundation's resources and relationships in the community.
When we should have found resources easily, we couldn't. When we needed help, we didn't know where to turn. Our partnership with palm Healthcare Foundation provides us the opportunity to let people know they are not alone, and that resources are available.
On behalf of Palm Healthcare Foundation, please donate to better the brain health of Palm Beach County to make it a healthier, more joyful, more peaceful place to live.
In good mind-body health,
The Merrell Family