With over 20 years of experience, Denise is highly recognized for her strong passion for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. She has her own lived experiences as an individual walking in mental and emotional wellness after suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder for over ten years, and she knows how an accurate diagnosis can ignite a full battle to recovery and wellness.
Denise not only advocates for mental health, but she also advocates for suicide prevention and awareness. In 1987 Denise’s youngest brother at the age of thirty-three died by suicide. The family secret behind her brother’s death came to an end sixteen years later when her only son died by suicide at thirty years old. It was then that the reality of both deaths’ hit the very heart and soul of Denise, and she realized that something had to be done in spite of her own diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and struggles with suicide ideation which had haunted her for years.
It is through these lived experiences that she works from a place of wellness to ensure that those who suffer can also have the opportunity to find relief from stigma, self-shame and embarrassment, missed or improper diagnosis, and discrimination from an uneducated society. Denise has played an active part at her local church to help remove the spiritual stigma behind mental illness in the black church and the community. Her efforts have included bringing awareness to families and youth of her local congregation on suicide prevention and taking a major part in helping to bring a mental health forum into the church where mental health questions could be openly answered.
Denise has spoken to hundreds of medical professionals as a mental health advocate panelist on behalf of the University Hospital Moods Disorder Program in Cleveland, Ohio. Under the direction of world-renown psychologist Doctor Joseph R. Calabrese Jr. In 2020, Denise co-facilitated internationally in a virtual Suicide Prevention event with H.O.P.E. Alliance in Singapore, Asia with founder Vincent Soo. As part of her efforts to educate others, in 2013, Denise was a part of an educational film presentation depicting the real-life story regarding the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Denise’s hope in sharing her own story is so that others would know that there is a road paved towards mental and emotional wellness, and you don't have to walk it alone.
"Telling my story helps remove self-stigma and can help bring healing and recovery to others." ~Denise H.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT DENISE
“I know Denise as a valiant soldier in the fight for mental health awareness. Her advocacy stems from her personal journey with bipolar depression as well as her experience as a caregiver for families who also struggle. Having survived the loss of my husband to suicide, I share Denise’s advocacy efforts and have had the privilege to join her at podiums and on video to share our stories and encourage others to join us in crushing the stigma surrounding mental illness.”
“Ms. Holcomb is a fierce advocate for fighting the stigma of mental illness and mental health treatment in her community. She is compassionate, professional, and dedicated to the dual missions also of suicide prevention and mental health care. She is genuine and relatable, and her own life experience allows her to offer hope to others suffering from mental illness, and her voice breaks the silence of those who have been afraid to speak."
Suzanne M. Jarm MSN, APRN, BC
Adult Psychiatry /Mood Disorders
“I love how Denise is being transparent and I am impressed by how she has conquered bondage over such a taboo subject. Mental health is not discussed in the black community. I support her in breaking down the barriers to healing. Much needed healing from years of physical, mental, and spiritual systemic abuse. I publish the Cleveland Observer and Denise has volunteered her time and efforts to the platform. The Cleveland Observer is convicted to serve the urban community with resources.
Denise is a vital Observer team member.”
Ron Calhoun, Publisher
The Cleveland Observer Newspaper