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.

True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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