Keith Johnson, a survivor of a suicide attempt in 2015, and former Sound client, probably doesn’t think he inspires people. But he does. Whether it is those who hear his story, or those who are supported by him, Keith is, indeed, an inspiration.
Three years after he shared his story in Sound’s 2016 Report to the Community, Keith continues to use his lived experience to help people at Harborview Medical Center — as Peer Support Specialist – someone who offers support to people who have struggled and ended up in the hospital. For those who have lost hope or lost their way, Keith’s lived experience gives him the ability to connect with, and offer meaningful guidance to people in crisis.
Individuals like Keith prove that life is worth living and that by moving forward, our lives may end up touching dozens, if not hundreds of others. As we celebrate Suicide Prevention Month, Keith’s story is worth reading again, if only to inspired by a man who dug deep and showed courage and determination.
Today, Keith is continuing his meaningful work at Harborview, noting that “I love watching people open up and share their interests and talents, and their knowledge and experience.”
A key highlight in his career was being invited to facilitate group sessions and take on other responsibilities – a big step for someone who admits he struggles with social anxiety. But Keith surprised himself — and accepted the position. Soon, he discovered, he was really good at it.
“I have more responsibility now, and my experience has given me a bit of authority. I’m sort of the lead of the Drop-In Center now.”
Keith has grown significantly in the years since we interviewed him in 2016. He is more confident, and possesses a deep sense of belonging.
Keith now is committed to helping others and derives satisfaction from his work helping to improve the lives of others. But, as his story reveals, none of this would have been possible if he had not taken that first step. This is something that he wants anyone struggling out in the community, to consider.
“I think it’s worth the risk to put oneself out there,” he says, about seeking support. “You get out of recovery as much as you put into it. Making a better life for oneself may take some serious effort, but as long as you open up and give from your heart, support and opportunities will come to you.”
To learn more about Keith and his inspiring story, read here.