Desiree Woodland and Joe Thompson

Desiree Woodland is the founder of Breaking the Silence NM, and Joe Thompson is the Board President of the Survivors of Suicide Support Group in Albuquerque. After Desiree lost her son Ryan to suicide, she wrote: “I Still Believe.” After 19 years, Desiree retired from teaching in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho public schools to co-create and present the “Breaking the Silence NM curriculum,” which teaches students mental illness and suicide awareness. When Joe lost his wife, he found strength and comfort in talking about her life and death with other people in the Survivors of Suicide Support Group.

Desiree said, “I became involved with Breaking the Silence New Mexico because I realized I didn’t know what mental illness was. I couldn’t determine the signs. I have since learned since working on this project that if a child has been experiencing signs and symptoms of depression for two weeks and there’s no relief, parents should not be ashamed to take their child to get a check-up. Joe said, “There is such a stigma attached to mental illness, and then asking for help.”

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