I’m Jay Shifman, a public speaker, coach, and Host of the Choose Your Struggle podcast. I interview people with lived experience on the topics of Mental Health, Substance Misuse & Recovery, and Drug Use & Policy to help end stigma and normalize difficult conversations through empathy and vulnerability.
Each year, over 125,000 Americans die from overdose and suicide combined. I’m not even talking about the other causes of death related to substance misuse and mental health. Just those two. Those are our friends, our neighbors, our family members. They go to our churches, eat next to us at our favorite restaurants. They talk to us through our favorite podcasts. And these deaths are completely preventable.
There are massive systems changes that need to happen. But until we can have honest conversations around these topics, these lives will continue to be lost. That’s why I produce the Choose Your Struggle podcast. That’s why I tell my story. As a guy in long-term recovery who survived two suicide attempts and an overdose, I recognize my privilege. I’ve been given a second chance in a country, and a world, where most people don’t even get their first. For me not to use it for something truly meaningful, frankly that would be a waste of my second chance. That’s why I get up every day and work to help end the stigma and ensure that those who need help get the help they deserve. Because we’re in this together.