'You are worth the fight': Central Ohio mom starts mental wellness campaign in honor of her son

April McMillan and her son Isaac courtesy of the family

UNION COUNTY, Ohio (10TV) - A central Ohio mother is on a mission to raise awareness for mental wellness in honor of her son.

Isaac McMillan, 18, died by suicide on September 23, 2019. His mother April described him as someone who made others feel happy.

"He had this laugh that was quite contagious and a smile that could light up a room," April McMillan said.

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After Isaac's death, his family made it their mission to break the barriers of mental illness. They started, "He Who Laughs" as a way to champion mental wellness.

"This isn't just a community problem. This isn't just a personal problem. This really is a public health problem," she said. "[We want] to encourage other people that even on your darkest days, your story doesn't have to end. There is always light."

McMillan said the past year has been particularly tough in Union County. She said many schools have been impacted by suicide. In response, she is selling t-shirts to help dissolve the stigma surrounding mental health.

"[We took] each of the school districts, the three largest in Union County, and [had] them printed on the shirts to really illustrate there are no boundaries in the ravaging of our youth," she said.

Each shirt features a semicolon. It is a symbol of an author who could've ended their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you. The sentence is your life. Your story is not over yet.

"You are worth the fight. You are worth the effort. Together, we can come out of this a little stronger," McMillan said.

If you would like to purchase a t-shirt, click here. A portion of the proceeds will go toward "He Who Laughs" to help others access wellness services. To read more about the mission, click here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress, please use these resources:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1.800.273.8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

National Text Suicide Prevention Hotline: Text CONNECT to 741741

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: https://www.sprc.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/chapter/afsp-ohio/