Navy Veteran Launches Organization to Provide Suicide Intervention Training for Families

Porsche Williams started Restore Life Global after struggling with her own mental health

Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams. Photo: Courtesy Porsche Williams

A Navy veteran who struggled with her own mental health has launched a suicide prevention organization to help others who may be experiencing the same challenges.

Porsche Williams tells PEOPLE she started Restore Life Global in 2018 after experiencing her own mental health challenges stemming from her time serving in the Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom war.

"Between trauma from deployment and military sexual trauma, I developed PTSD," she explains. "I wasn't my genuinely joyful self. I was depressed, not cleaning up, barely eating, sleeping 12-plus hours, crying all the time, isolating myself from my family, friends and anyone who cared."

"Everyone close to me could see that I was falling apart but didn't know what to say or do," Williams, 32, adds.

It wasn't until 2017 that Williams says she reached her "final straw."

"After a really bad breakup with my significant other of almost eight years, I gave up," she says. "I attempted suicide by overdose. It failed, and I am grateful it did. My life began the day I woke up."

Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams. Courtesy Porsche Williams

With that second chance, Williams launched Restore Life Global. The mental health organization specializes in peer and person-to-person suicide intervention training, staff coaching and suicide prevention education, according to their website.

"I got tired of seeing my military friends and family members [die from] suicide," she says. "I needed to be a part of the change that I wanted to see, and having such a personal relationship with suicide, I could understand those suffering with thoughts much better than others."

In just two years, Williams says her organization has "saved more than 200 lives with a conversation — the most important conversation one could have."

She also developed a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department Emergency response teams in Washington D.C. and works alongside them during barricades and potential suicide scenarios.

Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams. Courtesy Porsche Williams

This year, Restore Life Global has taken on an even more important role, as isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions across the globe.

"With over 33 million people reporting suicide ideations in 2020, I couldn't wait any longer to help those in need — this is an all-hands-on-deck mission," she says. "It is not enough to just know the signs of someone who may be suicidal; a conversation is desperately needed."

"Our goal is to help combat those rising numbers with as much love and determination as possible," she adds.

In recent months, the organization has faced some financial challenges with the funding of its training programs.

As a result, Williams turned to baking and starting selling sweet potato pies in her community to raise additional money.

Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams leading a suicide prevention training. Courtesy Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams
Porsche Williams hugging her daughter. Courtesy Porsche Williams

"Stress had taken its toll on me, and it was manifesting itself physically to the point my doctor advised I take a break from suicide interventions," she explains. "So I turned my attention to baking since it's therapeutic."

Her efforts resulted in a total of $4,500 — which ended up being enough to provide two free training sessions to the Washington D.C. community, CBS affiliate WUSA reported.

Today, Williams says she's working on opening a bakery where 100% of profits go towards suicide intervention skills training and mental health education.

She also has a suicide intervention training scheduled for mid-March and a second course expected to take place in April, WUSA reported.

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As she continues to lead her organization, Williams hopes to send a message to people around the world that "it is okay not to be okay."

"Suicidal ideations are common. However, please reach out if you are experiencing thoughts because unchecked thoughts can lead to devastating behaviors," she says. "Suicide prevention is everyone's responsibility."

"I always tell people you never know who may be having thoughts. However, these are skills that you would rather have and not need than to need them and not have," she adds.

Those interested in donating to Restore Life Global or attending their training workshops can learn more here.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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