Author, Auburn Native and International Model Jacqueline Cioffa never thought she would be the poster child for manic depression but when she suffered a nervous breakdown her fractured life took a turn.
Cioffa details her struggles with mental illness and bipolar disorder in her new memoir titled “The Red Bench“ out April 2 on Amazon. Her goal, she says, is to raise awareness about mental health and to keep the conversation going when it comes to suicide prevention.
“As an advocate and a person with mental health issues, I didn’t want to feel shamed,“ she said. “And I didn’t want to feel shamed.“
At 35, Cioffa had her first nervous breakdown and was manic. She came home because she said it was the only thing she knew to do. Her memoir is her way of being able to share her story to hopefully help others.
“The Red Bench“ is a dark deep and brutally honest portrait of her struggle. “I wanted it to be, besides being a lifeline to sanity for me, it was a message of hope and resilience.“
Statistics show that Cioffa isn’t alone. One in five adults have a diagnosable mental illness and suicide is the second leading cause of death among students. One of the biggest stigma’s though, is that many people are still afraid to talk about it. She hopes that her story can help change that.
“I can’t help that I got sick, so if I can help one person out there to say ‘Wait a minute, she’s gone through this, and she’s doing okay,’ she said. “…and that’s the message really, we’re here to help other people.“