Local Organization Shines Light On Depression With Weekend Event
Matt McIntosh appeared to be a normal, All-American 21-year old in the prime of his life. In reality he was anything but. Like millions of young adults Matt grappled with depression and sadly, in October of 2011, took his own life.
Now, friends and family have established The Matt McIntosh Foundation and the Facebook page 'DONTWAITLIVE', which hopes to raise...
awareness about the life-altering effects of depression, and give sufferers a place to turn. This Sunday they step out for a community wide bike path cleanup in Egg Harbor Township in memory of Matt.
Kevin Coopersmith, a founder of The Matt McIntosh Foundation, noticed his best friend being overcome by depression. In fact, it was an unfortunate condition the two shared and try to help each other wade through, holding each other up as they felt life was letting them down.
"In the last year of Matt's life, there grew an immense priority in looking out for one another...Taking care of another depressed person when you are depressed yourself is not easy--for lack of a better metaphor it's like two people that have the flu trying to check each other's temperature."
--Kevin Coopersmith, co-founder
Holding each other up as they felt life was letting them down. Matt, once a loyal, compassionate, humorous friend and a lover of surfboarding and skateboarding, began to succome to feelings of worthless and stress when he was unable to find work and a 'place' in the world.
Despite friends and family reaching out desperate to assure Matt if their love and save him before it was too late, he could not eclipse self-imposed pressure and guilt, and on October 2, 2011, he ended his life.
It was Matt's sister Carley, saturated with profound grief, who suggested using Matt's tragedy as a platform for an anti-depression nonprofit organization. And with help from Coopersmith and other dedicated loved ones, The Matt McIntosh Foundation and it's ensuing Facebook page 'DONTWAITLIVE' were born.
Weekly dinners with the McIntosh family soon turned into the Foundation's meetings, and today those gatherings host up to 20 young adults seeking support and friendship for their depression.
Kevin Coopersmith says:
"The Foundation itself was truly born out of the drive for togetherness and peer support while promoting gratitude, mindfulness, and personal growth."
The Matt McIntosh Foundation is now a fully functioning nonprofit organization with bracelets and T-shirts being sold for donations. This Sunday from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. the members will reach out to the community with their First Annual Earth Week event, a cleanup along the bike path of Tremont Ave. and West Jersey Avenue in Egg Harbor Township. Volunteers are welcome.
"Our work is far from easy, and we have a long way to go, but I am grateful for every step we have taken to open people's eyes about suicide and depression by making this world a better place for all those who need it."