Kevin, a veteran of the U.S. Naval Submarine Force and hospital system professional, was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2012. But depression met its match in Kevin, who decided to battle the disease with knowledge, transparency and grit. Kevin earned a master’s degree in health administration at Penn State. Researching his graduate thesis, Kevin recognized the devastating impact of the shortage and lack of access to mental health professionals. His research and personal experiences with mental illness, compelled Kevin to help others in need.
Kevin’s son Nick has battled mental illness since he was a child. He was incarcerated at 18 where his condition deteriorated without access to medical care and treatments. Nick was released after 8 years – six of them in isolation for behaviors consistent with an untreated bi-polar disorder. His freedom was short-lived, just 103 days, before the nightmare began again. This time, the devastation called mental illness hit Kevin too. Thankfully, Kevin fought back. He learned that no one should suffer alone. The Quell Foundation works to educate communities about the issues and concerns surrounding mental health, promoting open, judgment free dialogue. Kevin is fighting on the frontlines of the disease. And he’s winning some key battles. He needs our support to do more, to reach more people.
In just two years, The Quell Foundation will have raised nearly $2 million in donations and worked on the front lines of the disease to help change how mental illness is diagnosed and treated. Kevin’s foundation focuses on training, access and awareness. It has formed partnerships with leading academic institutions across the nation and provided scholarships to students entering the mental health care field and students who have been diagnosed with a mental health illness. The Quell Foundation also educates communities to reduce suicides, drug overdoses, and incarceration of people with treatable mental illnesses and trains first responders to recognize signs of mental distress.
I admire Kevin's grit. He battled not only his own depression, but his son's mental illness -- and now he's helping families everywhere do the same. How do you tackle the world's more prevalent disease? One person, one family, one community and one day at a time. It takes true courage and someone like Kevin M. Lynch.
With $50,000 Kevin could develop a First Responder Advance Training program. It would fund a needs assessment of high risk law enforcement and firefighter communities and create customized, effective educational outreach to reduce number of suicides, divorces, mental health illness within this population of public servants. The first responder program would be designed to prove efficacy according to medical standards, allowing it to be published and become a scalable model nationwide.
To find out more about Kevin, his son Nick and why the Quell Foundation exists, read this feature in the Boston Globe: https://apps.bostonglobe.com/spotlight/the-desperate-and-the-dead/series/prisons/ I dare to read the story without tearing up.