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Miskelley family trying to help others like their son with new 'Be Better Mental Wellness Center'

Their son, Ian, was a U of M swimmer who took his own life in September
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Posted at 9:22 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 22:43:46-04

HOLLAND, Mich.  — On Tuesday, Steve and Jill Miskelley announced the details of the “Ian Miskelley Be Better Mental Wellness Center”, named after their son, Ian, who took his own life last September shortly before his 20th birthday.

Ian was known in west Michigan for winning multiple state swimming championships during his time at Holland Christian High School before attending the University of Michigan in 2018 on a swimming scholarship.

Steve and Jill told Fox 17 that Ian first noticed something was wrong when he was just 11 years old, and by the time he was 12, he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and pretty much every day going forward was a battle for their “warrior” as he was described by his uncle.

The Miskelleys are starting a non-profit organization that will provide coordinated services and care for adolescents between the ages of 14-22 in Ottawa County who suffer from depression and anxiety. The family explained their desire to help others, just like their son Ian did with so many of his teammates over the years.

The Miskelleys explained that the mental health system can be difficult to navigate and getting seen by a professional can often take too long.

The family envisions a community mental health center with beds and rooms for emergency overnight stays, that offers therapists who go to the patients, and also offers drop-in visits with counselors, group therapy and support groups. Steve tells Fox 17 the hope is to be in a facility within the next 18 months to two years.

The family told Fox 17 in October, while they didn’t get enough time with their wonderful son and brother, they also know it could have been shorter.

“If he wasn’t able to talk about it and wasn’t able to battle through this for so long, we would have lost him earlier” explained Ian’s mother Jill.

His Dad, Steve, added, “If there is anything I want people to take out of this, don’t be afraid to speak out. We’ve got this stigma, it’s not something to be ashamed of. This is not a failure on anybody’s part, this is a disease. We just need more compassion and support and less judgment.”

For more information on the Ian Miskelley Be Better Mental Wellness Center, check out their website at bebetterholland.com.

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