On Sunday, August 14, 1994, we lost our beloved son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend Sterling “Rocky” Parker II to suicide. SUICIDE! A word that we knew the meaning of but never imagined it would be embedded in our mind forever. Our family has been forever changed by this tragedy and we are devastated that such a fun loving, kind hearted young man that so many people loved, was taken from us by a debilitating disease of hopelessness and depression. The “what ifs…?” can constantly plague us. Since 2013, Dhyana R. Parker, Rocky’s sister, has been on a crusade to honor his life serving as an advocate and champion educating teens, young adults and families about mental illness, depression and suicide. She did not want any other family to feel the pain she and our family have felt since 1994. The Rock for Life Foundation will be a safe haven for those who feel that they have nowhere to go or no one to talk to. We want them to know they are not alone and that someone is always here day or night to talk, to listen, and to understand.
‘Our Story Isn’t Over”
The Rock for Life Foundation Mission is to support, educate and provide services to empower families living with the challenges of mental health disorders. We do this by providing a safe place to share stories and find support for others who are dealing with mental health disorders or caring for a family member with a mental illness. We believe that mental health issues impact social issues, including education, homelessness, and poverty. Mental health is not solely an individual responsibility but is a product of community conditions. The places where people live, learn, work, play and pray can have a significant impact on improving mental health.
Some mental health conditions are exacerbated by medical or clinical barriers, such as the lack of mental health professionals in the area. However, many poor outcomes stem from challenging environmental factors like housing stability, neighborhood infrastructure, and conditions at home, work and school. Mental health is a concept that should be promoted beyond the walls of health clinics and instead integrated into everyday life (such as our conversations, actions, decisions and responsibilities). Community members, leaders and professionals–-from teachers and preachers, to police officers and judges-–should understand the importance of mental health and the factors that influence it.
WHY I ADVOCATE FOR SUICIDE AWARENESS AND MENTAL ILLNESS
Her hope is that through education and awareness, those suffering with a mental illness will be urged to seek help and that our mental health laws get changed so that mental illness is viewed and treated just as importantly as physical illness. No family should ever have to feel this type of pain.
Dhyana’s Mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide and Mental Illness, by sharing her testimony. She feels that, If she can reach at least one person, that’s an accomplishment. In 2019, she started the Rock for Life Foundation, to help bring awareness to Mental Illness within the community, especially among youth and minorities and to rid the strong stigma in most cultures on Mental Illness.