Mental health advocacy, education and resource center

Published 10:30 am Friday, May 17, 2024

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Joy Inside Tears, a mental health advocacy, education and resource center, held its cutting on Wednesday. The center is located at the Newman Building on 200 E Depot Street.

The non-profit mission is to “provide mental health and suicide prevention resources, advocacy, support, education training, counseling referrals, and coaching to the community.”

The organization’s website has information on resources, events, volunteer opportunities and making donations. 

The founder and CEO, Tracie Holcrombe, started Joy Inside Tears after losing her son, Noah, to suicide in 2021. 

“[Starting Joy Inside Tears] has been good to keep going. It’s been good to understand the purpose that God had for me after this. And it was for me to be able to stand before you all today and share this moment,” Holcrombe said to the large crowd.  

She added, “Because if it had not happened, I probably wouldn’t be here to help shed the light to help talk about mental health to help talk about suicide prevention.

Other members of the community, including the Chamber of Commerce and the City of LaGrange spoke on the importance of a mental health organization. 

“Mental health is everything,” said Mayor ProTem Quay Bodie. “A lot of people suffer in silence. A lot of people don’t know ‘Hey, I can go ask for help’, and a lot of people feel as if ‘I’m ashamed to ask for help’. “We’re so appreciative to have you in the community.”

The ribbon-cutting was crowded with friends and family of Holcrombe, as well as other business owners. 

“What you do, your mission, your story is so vital to our community. There are so many of our members that probably need your help and don’t know they need it,” said John Westmoreland, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board. “Obviously, this was about as much excitement about a ribbon cutting as we have had in a while, so there’s a lot of support for you.”

Holcrombe said the signs someone is struggling can be hard to recognize. However, some things to look out for are if someone becomes more withdrawn or isolated, becoming angry easily, and weight fluctuations.

“We don’t really know what causes someone to get to that point but some of the signs are not as evident,” Holcrombe said. “[Noah] allowed me to share with them and tell his story of how early intervention is key. Intervention is the key to stop people from going through what I went through.”

Holcrombe is also a certified mental health coach and peer support. Through her LLC, Building Beautiful Minds Coaching and Consulting, Holcombe coaches families, adolescents and children about their mental health.

“The children need help. And they can’t balance academics and relationships and family and school, it’s a lot,” Holcrombe said.

Joy Inside Tears also gives counseling referrals through its partnerships. 

Holcrombe is not slowing down after the opening. She hopes to someday open a respite and retreat center for those struggling with mental health, or families working through loss. 

“I’m just so grateful today. My son’s legacy lives on and he would be so happy to know that joy is inside my tears,” Holcombre said as she and much of the crowd embraced the name of the organization and shed some tears.