“I’m Sam. I am a survivor.”
That’s how 14 year old Sam Potter begins her story.
Monday evening, Oct. 1st, Sam told her story of her struggles with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to students in the Master of Social Work program. Her visit is part of Mental Illness Awareness week.
In the spring of 2008, Sam’s father Rob committed suicide. Two and a half year later Sam struggled with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, considering suicide. She got help from Children’s Hospital’s Psychiatric unit in College Hill, where she was provided with counseling and medication she needed. She also met other children suffering with mental health issues.
Sam was determined to help other kids like her. “I want to help kids like me…because we need to look out for them. We need to care for them. And I’m going to be the one who does it,” Sam explains in a video. Sam and her family started the nonprofit Rob’s Kids whose mission is to raise funds and awareness of children’s mental health issues.
Today Sam travels the area speaking to groups to help reduce the stigma of Suicide and Mental Illness. She openly tells her story and is trying to gather support through funds and donations used to support Psychiatric Professionals and institutions that help these kids.
Sam’s mission is “To help kids see that there is a future and they are not alone.” She does all this and goes to high school, marches in the band, is active in her church, and has her passion for life restored.
“This is a valuable opportunity for our Social Work students,” says Dr. Dana Harley, MSW faculty. “The program is designed to give our students the skills to work with others like Sam. Her open honest discussion will provide insights no textbook can deliver.”
MSW students will partner with the nursing students during mental illness awareness week to disseminate information regarding the problem to students in the Student Union.
Listen to Sam’s story: