Journal To Save Your LIFE

Empowers populations who have been silenced by trauma and
systematically under-served.


Our Evolution: will transform into a J2App, providing a much needed mental health innovation to vulnerable populations.

J2SYL seeks development partners and/or investors for a new FOR-PROFIT arm of J2SYL related to it's 52 week mental health curriculum APP. Email for details: [email protected]


The Beginning.

Original 2012 Fundraising Video! We raised $17,000 for the PILOT Program.


The New & Improved J2App WILL SERVE a

GENDER DIVERSE Membership aged 13 - 30+!


In 2012 & 2014, 212+ Donors Made Journal To Save Your Life online - REAL.

Now we seek serious investors and/or partners for the next wave - J2App + a For-Profit J2SYL Spin Off. Email for details: [email protected] (a NDA will be signed for any and all conversations regarding development).


Sign up for updates on J2SYL at the bottom of this page by signing our PLEDGE.

  • Latest from the blog

    Addiction Survivors Help Spread Awareness About Finding a Forever Recovery

    Addiction Survivors Help Spread Awareness About Finding a Forever Recovery Article by Cecelia Johnson and Photos by Pixabay   Every September, we observe National Recovery Month — but if you ask me, addiction is a mental health issue that deserves awareness year-round. I have been thinking about the millions of people who suffer through substance abuse. When the drug epidemic is discussed, these people tend to be the forgotten ones, and their struggles are a huge component of this epidemic.   Being a recovering addict is no easy feat. I have great respect for those who work tirelessly to maintain their sobriety. For many — if not most — of these brave souls, it is a daily battle.   To promote recovery awareness, I reached out to several graduates of addiction treatment. Here are some of the stories they shared with me.   ‘Before going to treatment, I was lost’ Jeremy, a graduate of alcohol treatment in Michigan, told me that thoughts of suicide were the red flags that spurred him to seek help.   “My life before I got to treatment was pretty hectic. I had just gone through a divorce, so my using on top of that made life a constant battle. Every day I'd wake up, and I’d start drinking just to function. It got to the point where every night I was blacking out. I really didn't feel the need to live anymore. It's the first time in my life that that crossed my mind. It was scary, and I knew I needed help.”   Sober and ready to face the world, Jeremy feels like a new man.   “Before going to treatment, I was lost, and I didn't think a program would be able to give me that. But now I am at peace with myself, and I actually have the confidence to go to the world outside of treatment. I have goals now in life.”   ‘I've changed from the moment I got to treatment’ Alex told me he was also at a very dark point in his life when he made the decision to seek help.   “Before I went to treatment, I was doing OxyContin, Opana and painkillers. It was really driving me to a low point in my life, and I decided I needed to change. So I went to [a treatment center], and it has been life-changing. I started to steal sentimental items from my family, and that really started to tear me apart inside. It was not who I was at all, so I knew I needed a big change in my life”   He didn’t know what to expect when he entered treatment, but Alex told me he felt “a hundred pounds lighter” once he made the decision.   “As long as you're willing to choose to make it work for you, and as long as you have the choice to make a change, you will change. I can definitely say I've changed from the moment I got to treatment.”   ‘I've realized that there is another way’   Tara’s traumatic experience was the turning point for her to seek help.   “I went to treatment because I had been an IV heroin user for 8 years. I have a 2-year-old son that I lost custody of due to my drug use — that was the last straw. A month before I went to treatment, I was actually shot 8 times. I was shot because I was going to meet a drug dealer and things went bad — things went very wrong — and he shot me.”   Grateful for her newfound tools to manage sobriety, Tara is ready to handle what the world throws at her.   “I've realized that there is another way, that I am capable of living a sober life, and that I can be happy without drugs.”   Join me in recognizing those who make the commitment to live clean and sober. Through their success stories, others can find hope.
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    Is this Child's Behavior ADHD or Trauma Related?

    Many of you appreciated that I shared this article with you, yesterday: ADHD versus Trauma. I'm glad to connect to the sensitivity in you that can see the importance of this distinction. In my previous practice as a psychiatric nurse at an inpatient facility in Austin, Texas, this distinction between ADHD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was as clear as a bell. The former can benefit from medications ("Start low, go slow" is the prescriptive maxim, however). The later, especially severe post traumatic stress disorder, can look EXACTLY like ADHD - poor attention span, distractibility, labile emotions, disassociation from whomever is speaking to them at times, little resilience, and poor goal-directed behavior skills. All of these symptoms make sense if the world is as dangerous as you know it to be. If you have been physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually abused - by a loved one especially - your mind map of the world is so fraught with danger that you do one of two things: Shut Down, or Turn Up. Shutting down is disassociation, falling into the well of one's mind to avoid reality. Turning Up is becoming more hyper vigilant, more easily stressed by small triggers or sounds that remind you of a lack of safety. Rage is your best friend if you are Turned Up - in many ways, anger can keep someone safe (at least in the short term). Connecting with traumatized children is my passion. Rey, my RN mentor during my RN Residency in Austin, mirrors the kind of calm demeanor - and infinite listening capacity - I have for these children, too. His phenomenal skill set with abused and neglected children have made him into one of the most profound mentors to hundreds of nursing students. No matter how egregious a child's abuse story, their voice is important to listen to - even if they did just spit at me. Children and teenagers have often been misdiagnosed with the label of "ADHD" without proper testing (The Vanderbilt Survey tool need to be completed by THREE sources - not one) -- or a proper trauma assessment being performed. How to do a Sensitive Trauma Assessment: Children sense when an adult is uncomfortable - and if you never want a child to tell you the truth, be uncomfortable. Discomfort with a possible trauma story - even in subtle body language cues - tells a child that their Secret is so large that even an adult can't handle it. They will keep hold of their Secret - perhaps to protect you, but also to protect themselves from certain disaster if they happen to upset another adult. Children's incredibly perceptive nature demand that we, as adults, show up as solid, present, capable listeners. How to Help a Child Tell You They Have Been Traumatized: Witness. Normalize the idea of trauma existing (especially since 1 in 3 of us experience severe trauma in our lives - so it a regular occurrence!). Speak to the fact that EVERYONE has a chance of healing - no matter how deep the wound. Emphasize that you are with them, and that they will not get in trouble. Disregard arbitrary, non-vital job functions until you are truly able to make this child feel as worthy, safe, and deserving of help as they truly are. Reassure them that they will live through this - and even become more amazing because of how they decide to heal. Talk about celebrities, authors, friends that have pulled through hard times and still lead wonderful lives. Note: Whatever you tell a traumatized child at the point of their disclosure will color the rest of their life. If you act as though they will become triumphant after their trauma, they have a better shot at doing so. If you look down at them as poor, "sad little victims" of a crime that must be ever so debilitating...they will take on this belief pattern. Be careful. My nonprofit, Journal To Save Your Life, is trauma-informed. All of our 52 weeks of mental health curriculum assists people to come to terms with their trauma in an empowering fashion, no matter how deep the wound. Please donate to Journal To Save Your Life, here, so that we can continue to grow and do the work that we do: Looking forward to your support - and please leave comments! Thank you, ~Holly Claire Werstein, MBA, RN, FMHPNPFounder & CEO, Journal To Save Your Life 501(c)3  
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