Since losing my amazing brother Ian ’90 to suicide in 2016 and to honor his beauty and his silent pain, I have devoted my energy to suicide prevention and mental health awareness and am honored to have had many platforms since 2016 to broadcast my message of hope: television, radio, newspaper, four Out of the Darkness Walks, an Ignite (mini TED) talk, bringing a McLean Hospital exhibit called Deconstructing Stigma to the Burlington International Airport this winter (just the second airport in the nation next to Logan in Boston to do this), delivering testimony at the Vermont State House in Montpelier for increased funding for mental health awareness and suicide prevention programs, getting certified in Umatter suicide prevention training and taking Ian’s story and my message of empowerment to middle schoolers in Vermont, and most recently, being the featured guest along with my daughter, Elle, Ian’s beloved niece, for #AerieREAL Life, a site with almost two million viewers. We are making sure that Ian is very much alive in making this world better for so many who are suffering. I also am actively pushing for Vermont to become the 11th state to ban the sale of ivory and other imperiled wildlife parts (after eight years of fighting for this, we are looking to 2020 to be our year for victory!). Lots of info on my all-volunteer organization’s website vermontforwildlife.org. Join the movement! In addition to my activism, I am loving life in beautiful Vermont with my husband Ken and two spectacular kids, Elle (11) and Reid (9), and 100 pound rescue dog, Fielder, who has convinced himself that he is a lap dog.
Ashley (Prout) McAvey