Mom who lost son now makes Positively Jax difference to break mental health stigma

Sheryl Johnson started Hearts4Minds after she lost her son Alex to depression and anxiety.
Sheryl Johnson started Hearts4Minds after she lost her son Alex to depression and anxiety. (Photos provided by Sheryl Johnson)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it is appropriate that our Positively Jax winner, Sheryl Johnson, and her organization, Hearts4Minds, are in the spotlight.

For Sheryl, this is a very personal mission. She lost her son Alex at the age of 22 because of depression and anxiety.

While grieving, she and her family came to the realization that no one really knew about the mental health problems Alex was going through. Since that day, Sheryl realized she needed to take action.

Positively Jax: Sheryl Johnson
Positively Jax: Sheryl Johnson

Now she speaks to audiences, helping to explain mental illness, hoping to break down the stigma.

Sheryl will tell you mental illness is a silent epidemic -- silent because most people who suffer, along with their families, do so in silence and in shame.

She doesn’t want her son Alex to be “just another statistic.” This mission was born out of a parent’s grief and a society’s need.

Sheryl says at the end of the day, she knows how important it is that the journey to treat mental illness ends with a positive, long-term outcome. And that journey includes compassion, understanding and support.


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