We believe in a future where the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness is erased.

Providing compassionate comfort for those affected by suicide or mental/brain health illness and pain.

Let’s change the definition of suicide to change the conversation
‘Behind the Smile’ with Vonnie
‘Be the One’ with Aaron & Vonnie
Information and dates for upcoming
i understand events
Together, we can provide comfort, relief and unity simply by sharing.
Share your heart and ‘be the one’ for someone
Monthly tips and resources to improve your mental/brain health


  1. i understand suicide is an effect of illness or pain
  2. i understand mental/brain health illnesses are treatable and preventable
  3. i understand stigma is the #1 reason why someone would not seek treatment for mental/brain illness; education and awareness are vital to saving and changing lives
  4. i understand reaching out to those who are suffering could save a life; let someone know you are available and treat them with respect and compassion
  5. i understand most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they want their pain to end
  6. i understand speaking out about suicide may empower others to share their stories
  7. i understand feelings of guilt are part of the grieving process on the way to finding peace and acceptance
  8. i understand those who die by suicide do make it to heaven

Change the Conversation, Change Lives

Love heals and can be found in unexpected places.

Vonnie Woodrick, founder of i understand, shares her passion for changing the definition of suicide and how her journey led to hope and understanding.

Our Upcoming Events

Click on any image below for more information

Our Partners

Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

Connect With Us on Social

Facebook Feed

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
💗Pain… common denominator of all suicides. 

Do you have to have a mental illness to experience pain? 

Why do we always associate suicide with mental illness when pain is present in ALL suicides? 

Pain comes from more than a mental illness. Pain comes from bullying, isolation, grief, job loss, heartache, physical pain and so much more, leading to depression that could lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 

Haven’t we all experienced pain? Couldn’t we all be at risk? 

Check in on each other. Recognize the affects that pain can have. Seek help. Tell someone. Pain is treatable! 

Support is available 24/7 - 1.800.273.TALK
or Text - HOME to 741741 


... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

That's very hard for me to understand with my grandson's suicide Dustin didn't want to die!! it haunts me then Why?

And yet people don't talk about their/our pain because they've/w perceived the message that they "shouldn't" talk about their pain or heartache or grief, etc... When actually talking about it is such a healing release valve, and is the first step to lessening the pain. It frustrates me so much, and it makes the grief & pain linger even longer.

I just wanted the negative thoughts to finally stop.



View more comments

💗Let’s talk TEENS! 

Family Health Matters talks Teens and Mental Health on PBS GVSU Public Media with The WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin. 

Grateful to be a part of the conversation with Shelley, Dr. Kellen Stilwell Pine Rest, Dr. Krista Kirby Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and teen, Zoey Winship.

Take a listen as we bring teen mental health to the forefront! 


#PBS #familyhealthmatters

... See MoreSee Less

💗”I have everything I ever wanted.” 

Words from Kim Bergner at her 39th birthday celebration with her beloved husband and four children.  

💔A short five months after this happy celebration, Kim lost her battle with depression.  She fought a valiant fight, and was determined to be the caring, loving mom, and wife she proved to be. Sadly, depression had a different plan.  

👉Postpartum Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. According to Mental Health America, symptoms of PPD are the same as those for clinical depression and may begin as the “baby blues” but last far longer than the two weeks given for baby blues.  

One recent study found that one in seven women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. Approximately 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States, this equates to almost 600,000 postpartum depression diagnoses.  

Depression is an illness. It’s time we start talking about it, recognizing the deadly affect it can have, treating it, and normalizing the conversation to reduce the stigma attached.  

😢Some may say, Kim was selfish. Some may be angry at Kim for leaving her family, and some just won’t understand.  

To those who say ignorant comments, we will give you some grace knowing that to understand you may need to experience something similar. But what you can do, DON’T judge someone else and the pain they lived with. People don’t choose their illness; the illness chooses us. Depression is an illness and should be talked about and treated like we do all other illnesses, with compassion and understanding. If we don’t choose our illness, how can we possibly choose our death?  

🥰Kim was passionate about caring for her kids and intentional about teaching them to be kind, inclusive, and loving everyone they met. She was thoughtfully raising her children to make the world a better place.  

Let’s remember Kim for how she lived. Let her be our teacher to be kind and love everyone. Let’s keep her spirit alive and make the world a better place, judgment, and stigma free.  

From Kim’s family – “Kim fought valiantly to overcome her pain. More than anything, she hoped to be here for her family and loved ones. Now, she would want her story to highlight the importance of mental health awareness and the need for understanding the compassion for those who battle inside themselves daily. Our beautiful Kim lives on in the hearts of those who loved her.” 

💝Since my own husband’s death to depression, I notice signs that I often feel are small gifts from heaven. As I sit in my patio writing, hoping to bring understanding to the effects depression can have, and provide others a view of Kim and the amazing daughter, wife, mom, sister, and friend she was – two cardinals fly up and land on the ledge of my patio. The cardinals and me, are at eye level with each other and for a split second – we make eye contact, and then they are off. My immediate thought… could it be? This has never happened before. In fact, I don’t see a lot of cardinals around here. But I do see “big blue” (blue hereon) as Rob used to say, fly overhead, a validation to me that there is so much more to what we see. Although, we can’t see Rob or Kim, we can feel them. This feeling makes me more determined to continue to bring the conversation to the forefront and validate, I am never really alone, and neither are you. 


For more on PPD - 

Struggling? 1.800.273.TALK 


... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Kim was an incredible and loving person and her story needs to be shared. Thank you for carrying the banner for her family❤️

I will admit, I didn’t “understand” until the loss of Kim. To know her heart, her humor and her love for her family is to know how hard she was fighting to stay here.

Although her story is very heartbreaking, it deserves to be told, and Kim should be remembered for who she was, not the illness that robbed her of her life. I, myself, take medication daily to combat anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder. Each day is a challenge, and my biggest fear is falling back into that deep, dark hole of constant sadness and despair. I will pray for Kim's family and all those who suffer from mental illness. 🙏

My heart hurts for Kim because I truly understand 💔❤️. Thank you for sharing her story and my sincere condolences to her family and loved ones 💕

Those Cardinals were an ethereal validation of Kim's life and the beautiful life she lived

Thank you for continuing to bring light to this subject. Perhaps one day we will find a way to help others out of their darkness so no others will know of this pain. ❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏

A beautiful tribute. Thanks for sharing so more can understand.

I’m heartbroken 💔. I did not realize Kim was gone until yesterday. She was my like minded fellow twin mom, and I thought she had not gotten back to me because she was busy. It’s been so tough these last few years even without hormones working against you, I understand.

This is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all who are affected by her loss

"600,000 diagnosed" - so many more either waved off or kept hidden! Thank you for the work you are doing.

I had a similar experience w a cardinal yesterday - it flew away - I said “oh please come back, I did not get a good picture of you.” It turned around, flew back to the same tree - and sang to me! 💕❤️

I love you my beautiful friend, Kim

This is so heartbreaking! Thank you for sharing her story Vonnie!❤️

Thanks for sharing. My prayers to all who knew and loved her.

I miss seeing her outside her house and her beautiful smile. 🙏🏻💗

Thank you for sharing her story. So important to help others understand and seek help no matter the cause of depression and related problems.

Postpartum depression is real and it attacks moms when they are most vulnerable. We need to be watchful for the signs of suffering in others and do whatever we can to assist them in finding help. I am so sorry for the family and friends of this young woman.

After losing a close friend to PPD just 18 days after birth I can say I did feel all those emotions along with guilt. For a very long time. Back then I had no idea what PPD was. Thank you Vonnie for bringing Mental Health Awareness to the foreground.

Thanks for sharing this.Thank you for the the wisdom in the words you wrote as well.Understanding that it's not selfishness it's so important.That seems to be a common misconception.Sadly there are too many of us truely understand that our isn't.(Miss my boy.......Mel Boonstra Jr)

Thank you for sharing Kim’s story. She was such a beautiful person and I am blessed to have known her💗

Kim was so special, a very dear person. She touched so many lives.

I am thankful for the work that the Healthy Kent Postpartum Mood Disorders Coalition has accomplished.

🦅 signs everywhere. Twice, similar this has happened and I knew exactly who and what it was all about. Thank you for sharing Kim’s story and yours. It’s true. Signs. Hope. Purpose.

Kim, I love you! You were such a light for me in the hardest times of my life navigating being a new mom. I’m so happy we got to go on that journey together.

Such a loving heart . . . . . 💌💌💌💌

View more comments

💗Voyage Michigan Magazine thank you for including me as a “daily inspiration!”

Have you checked out this amazing magazine? It’s full of so many fun and interesting stories about Michigan! 

Check it out here: 



... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

You are such an amazing person Vonnie! Your humility in your darkest moment has given you the empathy and strength to help others, including myself, as we navigate this new journey without our loved one! 💙💜A sincere Thank you!💕

Your a amazing woman Vonnie!

You inspire so many people 💕💕.

Love this photo of you!



View more comments

Load more