DANA POINT, Calif.: Kristi Hugstad, author of "What I Wish I'd Known: Finding Your Way Through the Tunnel of Grief" and "R U OK? Teen Depression and Suicide" recently received an incredible gift: an anonymous "angel" donated 100,000 copies of her book "R U OK? Teen Depression and Suicide" for distribution to schools and youth organizations around the country.
The donation, which is the retail equivalent to $1 million, will help Hugstad in her mission to open an important conversation with teens - one that seeks to dispel the stigma associated with depression and mental illness, and offers hope to teens considering self-harm or suicide.
"This donation is an amazing display of generosity and faith in my cause," Hugstad said. "I visit schools and talk to teens on a regular basis and I know that many are struggling without the resources they need to cope in a healthy manner. This book can help open up the conversations that save lives."
Those conversations are happening, thanks to Hugstad's mission as a health educator, grief counselor, public speaker, blogger and host of her own podcast and radio show. Previously a health and fitness guru, Hugstad's career - and life - took a new trajectory four years ago when her husband, Bill, completed suicide by throwing himself in front of a train.
"It was an experience that no one should ever go through," Hugstad recalls. "But in dealing with it, I found my true mission in life - helping others who are going through what my husband went through."
That mission now includes distributing the 100,000 copies of "R U OK? Teen Depression and Suicide" where they are needed most. As part of this endeavor, Hugstad has asked for nominations for schools or organizations to receive copies of the book. To request books for a school or organization, please visit The Grief Girl. According to Hugstad, the lives of teens you love could depend on it.
"Teens today have so much to deal with, from depression to bullying to social media pressure to gender confusion to alcohol and drug abuse - and the list goes on," Hugstad said. "This book is my way of saying, 'hey, we understand what you're going through and we want you to know there's help out there.'"
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