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May 31, 2019

Welcome to Onward, hosted by Emily Harman; a new weekly podcast consisting of authentic conversations about facing adversity and moving forward. Subscribe now! In this episode, Emily interviews Steven Iselin, recently retired from his position as the Department of the Navy’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. Steve shares how depression made him go from feeling like he had it all to being suicidal within weeks. Ultimately, Steve learned how to live with depression. Finally, In this interview he shares strategies and resources he used to improve his mental wellness.

Episode Highlights:

  • First, Steve shares his story, beginning in 2000 as a family man under stress as he transitioned from his military career to life as a civilian.
  • What happened when Steve planned to end his life?
  • How Steve discussed mental wellness with his four children.
  • Also, we can all become caregivers by asking the right questions.
  • Why does Steve believe that his employer was so patient during his treatment.
  • Did his mental illness impact his his government security clearance?
  • What happened when Steve’s nephew Danny suffered from depression.
  • Steve talks about his involvement with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Also, learn how Steve learned to live with depression.
  • What are some of the statistics in the United States regarding mental health?
  • Furthermore, we all need to improve our awareness of mental illness.
  • Our mental wellness is just as important as any other aspect of physical wellness.
  • Why was Steve more afraid to go to counselor than taking medication?
  • Be kind to others because we never know what they are dealing with.
  • Instead of asking “How are you doing?”, ask “What’s your number today?”
  • Take vacation.
  • By sharing his story, Steve is helping others.
  • Be proactive - keep on top of your mental wellness before it becomes a crisis.
  • Check your family history for mental illness.
  • In addition, the rewards of volunteering to help others are tremendous.

5 Key Points:

  1. Appreciate that we can never be perfect.
  2. Steve has coped with depression by prescribed medication, cleansing deep breaths, yoga, taking vacations, treating himself, getting good sleep, and being kind.
  3. 20 million people every year live with depression and one in five people will lose a family member to suicide.
  4. Instead of asking “How are you doing?”, ask “What’s your number today?”
  5. We can all be caregivers and early intervention is crucial.  

Tweetable Quotes:

“When you are in the middle of a depression, you struggle with sleeping, you struggle with eating. Everything gets thrown off.” – Steve Iselin.

- (Suicidal) Either you feel you are a burden, or you feel you don’t belong.” – Steve Iselin.

- “One in ten high school kids will have thoughts of suicide during the course of a school year.” – Steve Iselin.

-“Everyone should think ‘How is my mental wellness’.” - Steve Iselin


Resources Mentioned: