Shanon McAlister 2011 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-A-Thon by Chato Stewart

Shanon McAlister 2011 Mental Health Hero Cartoon-A-Thon by Chato Stewart

My name is Shanon M. McAlister and I began a non profit organization, The Melinda A. Carter Foundation in January of this year.

Melinda A. Carter was a beautiful, loving, smart, talented girl.  Over the course of Melinda’s lifetime, along with all the good things in life, she experienced many traumatic circumstances as well.  She became depressed in her pre-teen years – began using unsafe coping methods and ultimately committed suicide in October of 2008.  Dealing with Melinda’s depression, Melinda’s death, the devastating grief it caused and seeing how many people were affected by it moved me to want to exact change in all areas dealing with children and mental health issues.  The Melinda A. Carter Foundation (MACF) was born.


The Melinda A. Carter Foundation has three goals:

1. SUPPORTING CHILDREN IN THE ARTS: This is out of the belief that if children are engaged in something worthwhile it brings them joy and self-worth.

2. BEING AN ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES IN MENTAL HEALTH: The stress that a child and their families feel while dealing with mental health issues are enormous and can be very draining in all areas of life.  MACF is here to bring up issues, ask questions and seek solutions for children and their families in all areas needed to make sure they have support and get the best care possible.

3. BRING AWARENESS OF CHILDREN AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES TO COMMUNITIES: Awareness has to be where we start.  Mental health issues and suicide in children is a reality that no one wants to talk about, but before we can begin to find any solutions we first have to recognize the problem.  MACF’s aim is to take this subject out of the shadows and bring this issue up for discussion.  Change is what is needed.  Change in how we view this problem… change in how we view our children… This is going to be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen.  The dialogue begins here… begins now… and it begins with you.  Let’s talk.


The Melinda A. Carter Foundation… Because there are children…. Children in need of direction.  Children in pain.  Because not all children have the tools they need to cope with life’s struggles.  Our children today are under more stresses than ever.  Peer pressures, bullying, pressures to perform and exceed in school.  In our society, we are bombarded by stimuli constantly now, adding to the normal pressures of life.


Mental health issues and suicide among our youth have been steadily climbing since 2000 and are still on the rise.  This subject has been a taboo subject in our society, but ignoring the state of our kids is not working.  This is not something that is “working itself out”.  Awareness must be raised and we must recognize this problem before we can begin to try and solve it.  This is no longer a parent problem.  This is everyone’s problem.  Unless you have experienced it, you cannot comprehend the magnitude of a child’s death and just how many lives it touches – changes.


The Melinda A. Carter Foundation Because there are children….


What can you do right now?

  • · Are you a member of an organization?  We are available to give talks!  Call to arrange a talk for your organization!
  • · Get a group together and have a fundraiser!
  • ·       Need an idea for a fundraiser?  Contact us!
  • ·       Contact us to sign up to be put on a list of volunteers for future events!
  • ·       Donate!  Your time, services, items… everything helps.
  • ·       Get involved!  Bookmark our website or friend us on Facebook!  That way you can stay up to date on current talks, events and various fundraisers!


You can contact us….

By Mail:


The Melinda A. Carter Foundation

8656 Bentwood Drive

North Charleston, SC 29406


By Phone:




By Email:


Our Web





  1. Pingback:Shanon McAlister Mental Health Hero | Mental Health Humor

  2. Jarret Lovel says:

    Shanon, I am an individual who as a child, was deprived of some much needed intervention by my grandparents who didn’t realize what I was going through. Now as an adult, I have been diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-Polar type II Disorder. I can not begin to say how grateful and encouraged I am to find that someone is out there advocating for kids who might otherwise be lost in their own misery. I currently study Psy and Sociology at Portland State Univ. in hopes that I can teach these subjects and make a difference with some, if not all, students and parents alike. I’m writing this to say, “keep up the good work!” and thank you for doing this. At the age of 11 I was already trying to commit suicide but was unsuccessful (thank God). After realizing that something was really not right in my mid-twenties, I sought counseling (again) and this time became an advocate for those who had no mind and/or mouth to speak about their issues whether due to the stigma of mental illness or no way to frame their thoughts coherently to where joe public would understand what they are going through. I whole-heartedly commend your efforts and may God be with you in your endeavors.

  3. Shanon M. McAlister says:

    Thank you so much for writing. I can’t begin to tell you what your story means to me. It’s stories like yours that bolster my resolve to tackle this subject in all areas I can. It does not state it above, but Melinda is my daughter. Like you stated in your story, while going through everything with Melinda, I didn’t have the strength nor the presence of mind to deal with anything but what Melinda was going through. Now that I have regained my strength, presence of mind and have the incite, so that we can begin to turn this around for all involved. I’m glad you “failed” at 11… I’m glad you sought professional help “again” in your 20s… I’m glad you are HERE. And with everyone working together, it is my life mission to make sure as many children that is possible to stay HERE and grow to an adult and be able to tell their story of survival to someone. Please go to our Facebook page and “like” us. Share it with all you know and ask them to do the same. Awareness is only the first step, but it’s also the most important. We can’t begin to change if no one knows. This is going to be a “team effort” and I’m gathering my team right now…. Thank you for being on my team! Bless you and again, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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