When tragedy strikes, some people become embittered while others are propelled to bring positive change to the world. For some, the loss of a loved one motivates them to raise money for a cause that they or their deceased loved one(s) held dear. For Cindy Nadelbach, it was to become the founder of a new suicide prevention organization along with Victor Perez, one of her son’s closest friends.
Last year on May 22, 2018, Cindy’s life was forever changed when her 21 year old son, Joshua Nadelbach, from Wellington, Florida, lost his life to suicide. Joshua battled depression and anxiety, which started when he was about 15. After 2 years of therapy sessions and medication management, it appeared to friends and family that his difficulties were behind him.
“He acted like he was in remission,” says Cindy. “He was working a lot, going out with friends, planning his future, and was always just out and about, but he wasn’t really okay. He was hiding his struggle. He would talk to friends and helped so many people suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide. People come up to me all the time and shared that he helped them, when they were thinking of suicide. That smile he put on his face was actually a fake one.” He was suffering still but this time in silence.”He wanted to live, he just wanted the pain to stop. The pain was the internal turmoil only he knew, and he lost the battle to this horrible illness called depression and anxiety.”
Family and friends describe him as a loving, kind soul, a wonderful son, brother and friend. “We were told that though he kept his feelings to himself, he helped many through their struggles and was a selfless individual,” she continued. “We believe that by doing this it gave him inner happiness and peace to know he was making a difference in other people’s lives.
“We want to have his legacy live on and we know he would want us to help save the lives of others.”
In memory of Josh, the Nadelbachs and his best friend, Victor Perez, started a nonprofit called Josh’s Benches for Awareness. Josh’s Benches educates organizations and individuals from a young age through adulthood about suicide prevention and awareness and highlights important resources in a visible manner.
“We are focusing our efforts on raising money for yellow benches and having them installed at schools, colleges, and public spaces to raise awareness for mental health issues. Yellow stands for hello, because sometimes that’s all it takes to let someone know they’re not alone,” said Cindy. “Yellow is all about making the issue visible. No one should have to suffer in silence. We’re not hiding it anymore.
The bench is a physical symbol that you’re not alone. Everyone knows it’s there. It’s a springboard to bring more conversation about the topic and start a “movement,” to add mental health curriculum to schools.” We hope the yellow benches will make people feel comfortable reaching out and communicating with others. People, organizations and corporations can sponsor benches. The benches list information and a phone number to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Perez has dedicated his career to helping businesses grow, and is using his knowledge to make a positive impact on the community. Perez said, “Today, I am on the board of two nonprofits and I have helped build a marketing and SEO firm called SPO Consulting. I look forward to making big things happen with the help of all of our new friends.”
This first bench was installed in Pierson Park, where Josh used to play as a child, and will be dedicated on Tuesday, February 19, by Mayor Anne Gerwig, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Ch.5 WPTV anchor Ashleigh Walters. members of the Wellington City Council, the Palm Beach School Board, staff from the local Starbucks, Wellington Parks and Recreation, The Palm Beach Post and other local press.
“We would like to thank everyone who donated and helped us start our project to start placing benches around town and beyond. We hope to see more benches installed this year and are working with the school district to get benches installed in every school!” said Cindy.
Their goal is to have hundreds of thousands of benches all over the country for suicide awareness and prevention.
A few months ago, Nadelbach was invited to speak at Palm Beach State College, hosted by Dr. Suzanne Duffs, head of the psychology department and campus events. At the event a student who often times considered suicide shared that what prevented her demise was focusing on her dreams, her hopes, wishes, and goals in life and remembering the people who care about her. “My advice is to give it time and to reach out. And even if it’s difficult and you don’t know what to say, just being around other people will help,” the student shared.
“The important thing we want people to know is that there is help out there for you. If you are struggling, go to the Student Counseling Center. We also want you to create an awareness that people may be struggling and by treating people with respect and kindness, here on campus and in the community, you might prevent a suicide,” said Dr. Duffs.
In addition, Josh’s Benches for Awareness has formed the following two Facebook support groups: Josh’s Benches Support Group and RIP Joshua Nadelbach. For more information or to offer support, go to: www.joshsbenches.com, or their Facebook page.
If you’re searching for mental health grants, grants for suicide prevention and awareness or want to start or grow your nonprofit or small business, visit GrantWatch.com to locate grants and funding applications.
About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.