Swansboro mother seeks to help people struggling with mental health issues

SWANSBORO, NC (WNCT) – People of all ages across the country are battling mental illness and addiction.

Here in eastern North Carolina, a Swansboro woman hopes to break the stigma of discussing her personal struggles. She also plans to give those in need a safe haven where they will be accepted.

Wendie Kidwell was mother to Ricky, a 22-year-old track star and “A” student before she left for college.

“He was someone everyone loved,” Kidwell said.

“He wanted to help everyone, he was so nice to everyone,” said Jenny Kidwell, his daughter and Ricky’s sister.

He had his own struggles with anxiety, which eventually led to him abusing medication.

“It was the start of a fall, and for four years Ricky fought,” Jenny Kidwell said. “He was hospitalized five times, he was in two rehabs.”

Ricky committed suicide in April of this year.

Now his mother is raising awareness about the epidemic that is affecting so many people, right in her garden.

“What it has become is a place of peace, several young adults have spoken to me here,” Kidwell said. “It helped them, but it also helped me.”

She hopes to grow her non-profit organization and get a house, “Ricky’s Retreat”, where people can come and meet with peer support specialists, whenever they need it.

“The idea of ​​peer support means I struggled with something and I can share my experience with other people on how I was able to get a little better today than yesterday” , said Kidwell.

Ricky’s sister Jenny has seen firsthand the impact they have had on people’s lives so far and hopes to help even more.

“With the children and young adults who have already come, I can’t imagine how much a house would actually help,” she said.

Currently, Kidwell is seeking all possible help from the community to make his vision a reality. To find more information on their Facebook page, click here.

To visit their website, click here.

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