Neil and Joey both dealt with depression when they were kids, but only one could get help.

Neil Hilborn delivered a beautiful and moving spoken-word poem called "Joey" about depression, suicide, and what it takes to get help.

At the heart of it? How being able to afford help can make all the difference for a person who is depressed.

That difference, of course, can be life or death. It's a vital message, especially because depression affects so many of us. Over 15 million American adults suffered a major depressive episode in 2013.


If you have a few minutes to watch the video, scroll down. It's worth your time because Hilborn is such a moving performer.

Here are the highlights:

In his poem, Neil talks about his childhood and his good friend Joey. Both he and Joey had suicidal thoughts when they were younger.

"Joey always told me, laughing as though it were actually a joke, that he wanted to kill himself, but it was never the right time. There were always groceries to be bought and little brothers to be tucked in.

Don't worry. Joey isn't going to kill himself twenty more seconds into this poem. That's not the kind of story I'm telling here."

Neil recalls the time Joey told him he was depressed and how he had responded callously but so normally for a teenager in a society where we're conditioned to tell people who are depressed to "get over it."

Neil struggled with depression, too. But unlike Joey's family, Neil's had the financial means to get him help.

"There's one difference between me and Joey. When we got arrested, bail money was waiting for me at the station," says Neil. "When I was hungry, I ate."

He continues, speaking more quickly, gasping for breath between lines:

"When I wanted to open myself up and see if there really were bees rattling around in there, my parents got me a therapist. I can pinpoint the session that brought me back to the world. That session cost $75. $75 dollars is two weeks of groceries. It's a month of bus fare. It's not even a school year's worth of new shoes.

It took weeks of $75 to get to the one that saved my life."


Neil finishes his poem: "I'm so lucky that right now, I'm not describing Joey's funeral. I'm so lucky we all lived through who we were to become who we are. I'm so lucky. I'm so lucky."

None of us should have to rely on luck. We should be able to talk openly about depression and mental illness and — more importantly — have services available to us, regardless of whether we can afford them.

If you're in a position to donate money to support mental health services and would like to help, CNN has an article listing some worthwhile organizations.

$75 shouldn't be the difference between life and death.

If you're in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). You can also visit the website for an online chat option.

Here's the moving spoken-word poem, and there's a full transcript below — just hit the "View transcript" link below the video.

Family
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

For most of us, the hypothetical question of whether we would stick with a boyfriend or girlfriend through the trials of cancer and the treatments is just that – a hypothetical question. We would like to think we would do the right thing, but when Max Allegretti got the chance to put his money where mouth is, he didn't hesitate for a second.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular