Emily Maynard on Mental Health & Helping Others

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Emily Maynard Johnson has it all: love, family, fame and beauty. But, like everyone, the now happily married mom of four is not immune to mental health issues. From being bullied as a teen, to the death of her fiance – killed in a plane crash in 2004 days before Emily found out she was pregnant – to the failed reality TV-based relationships that came after, Emily says, “I’ve dealt with a lot of tragedy in my life, I did the show and that brought on a lot of anxiety.”

Emily, who lives in Charlotte, has written about her battles with anxiety, depression, even a suicide attempt, in her book, called “I Said Yes.” She says, “I’ve been very open with a lot of the things I’ve dealt with in my life.”

Now, Emily is lending her voice to a designer handbag auction in Charlotte next week, created after the suicides of handbag designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain. The “What Are You Carrying” event will benefit HopeWay, a nonprofit mental health facility in south Charlotte. Emily says, “I just look back on so many times in my life, I really could have used a place like this.”

“These are brain diseases, just like diabetes or hypertension or cancer, these are not things that people have because they’re weak or they can’t manage a situation in their life,” says HopeWay’s Chief Medical Officer, psychiatrist Dr. Alyson Kuroski-Mazzei. She says up to one in four people have a mental health issue. “When we look at suicides, right now it’s the second leading cause of death in children, from 12-34. And that’s staggering,” says Kuroski-Mazzei.

The “What Are You Carrying” purse auction proceeds will allow HopeWay to help more people from all walks of life. Emily says, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter if you’re famous, if you’re not, if you’re wealthy, if you’re not, it doesn’t matter. Everybody has something that they’re carrying.”

The event is almost sold out, but you can get more information and bid on the designer purses online by clicking here.

If you or someone you know is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.