“Only the strong survive” was recorded by Elvis Presley and others and the song is about a young man jilted by his sweetheart, and his mother is telling him to get off his knees and hold his head high and get on with his life. This advice happens to be the personal mantra of many who consider themselves strong and competitive, and yet, reach a breaking point or a burnout point that indeed does bring them to their knees. In a “bigger, better, faster, stronger” rat-race competitive environment the race to reach the top too often becomes a fall to the bottom. Too often pride won’t allow them to seek help and the consequences are becoming increasingly fatal. Suicides in America last year were 44,000.

The life journey of my guest today, DeAnn Wandler thankfully has a different outcome, yet easily, she could have been another statistic. Today she is on a mission to help others facing pressures they are finding unmanageable, and through her own inspiring story reaching out to others with a message of hope, healing and a regimen of recovery and self-care that will hopefully equip them with the resilience to persevere and manage their way through their own maze of overwhelming anxiety, stress and depression.

She is a passionate suicide prevention community advocate, speaker and educator, since attempting to take her life by shooting herself in the head, and is focused on ensuring the voice of lived experience is heard and valued.

Having this unusual lived life experience, DeAnn, a former University administrator, now works on promoting mental health and wellness in the community and workplace, as well and raising awareness on mental health support needs in the workplace. DeAnn hopes to remove stigma and promote open dialogue with top employers about mental health needs. She also aims teach others how to take care of their mind and body again by giving support, education, inspiration, leadership, empowerment and awareness to ensure they nourish themselves.

She currently serves as on the Mental Health and Recovery Counseling Education and Training National Advisory Committee, as well as the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Speaker & Conference Bureau Committee and is an active member of the Stark County Suicide Prevention Coalition.


She has been trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Mental Health First Aid. She is a certified Brain-based Coach through the NeuroLeadership Institute, is Narrative Coach trained, certified in Mindfulness and is near completion of her Registered Yoga Teacher training (RYTT200).

In todays’ episode, DeAnn and I will explore the following questions and issues:

–The fatalities in 2018 alone from stress-related deaths (alcohol, opioids, suicide) equaled over 200,000 in the United States. This is a mental health crisis unprecedented in our history. What do you ascribe this to?

–Your personal story is such an inspiring one, can you elaborate a bit more on what I covered in the introduction

–You say that you “don’t speak to inspire, inspiration is a dime a dozen in our world—you speak and coach to create life changing transformation within all that you encounter.” What are some of the techniques you use and some of the steps you encourage others to use.

–“What doesn’t kill me improves me” to quote the famous adage, yet, resilience varies so much from person to person that we can’t just depend on everyone to somehow persevere through can we? Please elaborate a bit on resilience and are there methods one can use to increase their resilience

–In mindfulness, there is surfboard metaphor used to illustrate how meditation can be employed to help navigate the difficult events in our lives. The saying is that “meditation doesn’t change the external events in our lives, but, does provide a surfboard to help navigate the choppy seas better.” Is meditation a technique that you personally use?

–You are nearing completion of your yoga trainer certification. Has yoga been an important part of your own regimen, and how do you think it can be a big help in helping one deal with stress and anxiety?

–Is there a balance that must be struck between yoga, meditation and other self-care techniques and the addition of professional counseling, psychiatric services and medication?


Check out this episode!