INDIANAPOLIS — Marcus Watts is familiar with mental health struggles, after surviving the darkest days of his life in his mid 20's.
"When my friends passed it was like a domino effect because I lost five people close to me in a matter of like 18 months. Three to gun violence and then two that died by suicide. I was just trying to find my way," Watts said.
At the time Watts was also battling alcohol addiction. Today, at 30-years-old he's sober and has indeed found his way, using motivational speaking to help other people understand they are not alone. Watts never attempted to take his own life, but realized if he didn't get help an irreversible action could lie ahead.
"I was struggling with finding my purpose. I always played sports, so I went to college for a couple years and when the sports didn't pan out you kind of feel lost. Now you're 22, 23, no job history, so it's hard to find a job. I had my first son when I was 18, so I was already a parent. Those type of things start to catch up with you," Watts said.
In this Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, Watts will be among the voices heard Thursday during Radio One's 'Stop The Music' broadcast, highlighting mental health issues. During this pandemic especially, he is speaking up in hopes of reminding everyone that your fears or anxiety are shared by your neighbors, whether working from home, not working at all, or working in a high-risk environment.
"I saw that happen with my sister and my mother who works at the VA hospital, and even my spouse losing her job, it took a toll on me and a lot of my friends and family as well," Watts said.
The words on Watts' shirt say "alone is a lie." He says that's a message anyone feeling alone should understand.
"If you feel like you're alone and in your mind its just repeating that, telling you you don't need to reach out to anyone because they're not going to understand you. Your parents won't understand, your friends won't understand. That feeling of being alone, it's a lie," Watts said.
Anyone in the state can dial 2-1-1 to access help and you can find links to organizations like the Bowen Center, which offers help by clicking here: https://www.bowencenter.org/ or here for 2-1-1: https://in211.communityos.org/
Radio One will stop the music on five Indianapolis Radio Stations starting at 10 a.m. to observe World Suicide Prevention Day. The "Stop The Music" radio block can be heard on 106.7 WTLC, Hot 96.3, RadioNow 100.9, WTLC-AM 1310/92.7FM and LaGrande 105.1.