IAM Strong - America
Isabelle Alexandra Medina (IAM) was thirteen years old when she took her life on September 6th, 2014.
Those who knew Isabelle describe her as a kind, intelligent, funny, and outgoing girl who radiated happiness and brought laughter to all of those around her.
Established by Isabelle’s family and friends, the IAM Strong Foundation see that a change needs to be made in the way in which mental health is viewed.
A small, community based organisation of Boston, Massachusetts, IAM Strong works to shatter the stigma associated with teen mental health issues, emphasizing the need to treat all mental health issues no differently than physical health issues. They work to bring light to a serious topic not discussed often enough — mental health. IAM Strong works to promote acceptance, and ensure that no teenager (or adult) should ever have to experience a tragic death such as the one which took Isabelle.
As a result of frequently attached stigma, teenagers (and adults) can feel as though getting the help they need and deserve is not an option. IAM Strong aim to communicate to teenagers that they are not alone in their mental health struggles. Their core belief is that having positive support can and will make a difference in the emotional well-being of those facing the challenges of mental illness. It is through this philosophy that they hope to make a change in the lives and experiences of teenagers.
They do this by creating a dialog among teens and adults and eliminating the isolation associated with teenage mental health struggles by providing resources, support and acceptance.
Additionally, they work to develop educational materials to support these efforts and fund programming directed at teens starting in the middle school and continuing through high school, as well as looking to provide grants and funding for community programs that align with their values and mission statement.
It is in this way which they will hold onto Isabelle’s memory. Please join us in our work to provide support to teenagers and those suffering from mental health issues. http://www.iamstrongfoundation.org/
Nov 27th, 2016 – A note from Isabelle’s Mother
My daughter Isabelle would be turning 16 tomorrow–yet she will be 13 forever. There is so much more to Isabelle than the way she died and how she lived is what I want people to remember. Isabelle is not just a statistic or a number and I know her family, her friends and all that knew her would agree.
Isabelle was funny, she was smart and witty and she loved to laugh. And she loved to make other people laugh.
Isabelle loved the omelets her dad would make her on Sunday mornings filled with special ingredients that only they would share together. And she loved oysters, oh how she loved oysters—and once again, just with her dad.
Isabelle loved her friends –her school friends, her camp friends, family friends. And Isabelle loved nothing more than a good sleepover.
Isabelle loved to travel- she was ready to go in a split second and always planning the next destination.
Isabelle LOVED animals and any other living creatures—rabbits, cats, dogs, chickens, millipedes, horses… She would go to great lengths to free the moths that would find their way into our home and feed the turkeys that congregated in our yard.
Isabelle is a twin and a younger sister. She is a granddaughter, a niece and a cousin. And she is my daughter. She is everywhere I turn… I see her waving to me with that giant backpack of hers as I drive past her middle school. At her old nursery school, I picture her running through the yard and swinging on the monkey bars. In her bedroom, I can see her brushing and straightening her long, dark hair while snapping on her gum. These are things I want to remember about Isabelle.
I don’t want others to feel uncomfortable saying her name. Although Isabelle was only with us for 13 years, she lived a lot of life in that short period of time and I love hearing every moment that I may have missed.
But there could have been many, many more moments. Please, if you need help, you don’t have to do this by yourself. Talk to someone, anyone and let them know. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day. Check the Resource List at www.iamstrongfoundation.org for other supports that are available. You are never alone in your journey.
If you know someone that may be struggling, do not hesitate to reach out. Send a text, make a call, stop by for a visit. You may never know the difference your words and just your presence can make to another person.