Lori Yeager has sprung into action to help stop the stigma of mental health.
Yeager started “The Hope for B.E.S.T.” after she lost one of her triplet brothers Dan Best to suicide in 2018.
“The first couple of months were a blur, because you’re trying to wrap your head around something that you just can’t wrap your head around,” said Yeager, an Avon resident.
She said she endured many sleepless nights in that stretch and the thoughts she had in the shadow of the night turned into words on a paper, which turned into poems.
Since that fateful stretch of time in 2018, Yeager said she has written over 100 poems, and half of them are in a book titled “By All Means….JUST SAY IT.”
And, she has become an advocate for destigmatizing mental health with “The Hope for B.E.S.T.” (BEST being an acronym for Be the End to Silent Thoughts).
“(The book) is a book of all kinds of poetry that I started writing,” Yeager said.
Topics in the book include bullying, addictions and other trials people are going through but are too afraid to bring up, she said.
This year, Yeager said she’s incorporating a 1-mile K-9 walk into the community to help get the word out.
The first walk will start and finish at Canning Family K-9 Park, 3701 Veterans Memorial Parkway in Avon.
The walk will take place at 10 a.m., Oct. 16, and benefit mental health awareness programs in local schools.
Yeager said her book, “By All Means…..JUST SAY IT,” also will benefit mental health programs in schools.
She said she wanted to pilot this K-9 walk with the city.
Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen and Avon Local School District Superintendent Ben Hodge have been a big help to make this walk a reality, Yeager said.
Hodge said he supports what Yeager is doing with mental health awareness.
“It’s another great opportunity for our community and school to be involved in a mental (health) awareness event that will allow us to promote education and resources for all,” he said.
“I’m hoping that this will be the first (walk) of many to come,” Yeager said.
Mayor Bryan Jensen also thinks that this is a great opportunity to talk about mental health.
“Having Lori bring (mental illness) to the forefront and doing something positive out of a terrible situation, the city of Avon always wants to support those kinds of events,” Jensen said.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is going to be there along with other sponsors, she said.
Yeager’s goal is to have a walk in much of the surrounding area.
“I could either go down the rabbit hole of ‘woe is me,’ and ‘I’m the victim’ and live the rest of my life that way, or I could take the tragedy and turn it into a purpose,” she said.
Yeager said she chose the path of purpose and that helping America’s youth is her biggest goal right now because she wants to help the youngsters who are struggling with mental illness.