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The Good Deed Revolution: Promoting Mental Health And Suicide Prevention With Brandy Vega

May 09, 202441 min read

Around the world, a person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. However, it takes less time than that to go online and make a promise to live. Brandy Vega, founder of The Good Deed Revolution, has been spreading this word around as part of her greater advocacy for mental health and suicide prevention. In this episode, she shares a harrowing personal experience that sparked her passion in this space and how her efforts over the years have helped countless teenagers with their struggles. Tune in to learn more!

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The Good Deed Revolution: Promoting Mental Health And Suicide Prevention With Brandy Vega

I have the pleasure to meet with Brandy Vega. She is a dynamic Entrepreneur, Speaker, Media Guru and a Mother. She is the Founder of DANcan, an innovative tech company. She is the CEO of Vega Media Studio, a leading video production and media studio and Founder of Good Deed Revolution and the Promise 2 Live, a mental health and suicide prevention.

 At seventeen years old, she joined the army as the Broadcaster and Public Affairs Specialist. During her career, she reported for Fox News to produce shows for worldwide audiences and served in executive positions. She also does freelance work for several companies. Brandy’s passion also extends to humanitarian work where she founded her nonprofit organization, the Good Deed Revolution to promote mental health and suicide prevention. Brandy, welcome to our show.

Aligned Learning Revolution (Activate, Accelerate, Achieve) | Brandy Vega | Suicide Prevention

Thank you so much, Brandy, for being here. I was looking forward to our conversation.

My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

The first question I have is that you do so many things. Whenever I see you, you’re doing lots of different projects. You have a big heart. What are you doing that’s so close to you currently? What project are you involved in?

It’s funny because I went to this event and they were saying, “Brandy, tell them what you do.” I’m like, “I don’t know how to say what I do. Which one? There’s like 5 or 6 different things.” I came up with a new term. I said, “I’m a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist that focuses on faith, family, light, and love.” That’s what I do in a nutshell but I own a video production and media company.

I call it Vega Media Studio. I have a digital authentication company to fight AI debates and manipulated media. We bring trust and transparency. That’s called DANCan. My passion project is my nonprofit, Good Deed Revolution and our big initiative is called Promise 2 Live. That focuses on suicide prevention and mental health. I started doing that after I almost lost a child to suicide. Not once but twice.

Mental Health In Today's World

This show is for parents, teachers, kids, and students. You’re in the right place to talk about this. What are you noticing in our world and society with mental health? What do you see?

It’s been so hard. I was talking to Nate Randall, who’s the CEO of Gabb Wireless. Gabb is a safe tech platform for youth, which is one that we used for our child after the second suicide, when we dove in and found that there was this dark web of manipulation and unsafe tech and things. The hardest part, what he said is, “We’re more connected than we’ve ever been, but we’ve never been this disconnected in our entire lives.”

People have this false sense of community and of security and of worth. It’s all manipulated. That real connection and that real trust, it’s like the suicide rate for youth has gone up 71% since 2010. You look back and you go, “What’s happened since 2010?” We got a lot of these smartphones, social media, and the disconnection. I’m sure our sleep habits are the media we intake.

There’s a lot of things that can contribute to it but it’s disconnected. It’s a lack of hope. It’s a lack of belonging. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and that’s what we’re focused on. I’m one of the lucky ones. When I almost lost my daughter at fourteen, she attempted at twelve. She did it again at fourteen and I have a second chance. She’s seventeen now. She’s graduating high school early. She’s an incredible artist. She’s got a scholarship.

I promised God that if he would save her, I would do whatever work he needed me to do. That’s what we’ve been doing. We've been finding where the breakdowns are. How can we prevent this because it’s 100% preventable but people don’t know. They’ll say to me, “What sign should I look for?” I was like, “Don’t look for signs.” Do but that’s not going to save. How often can you tell by looking at what people are thinking or feeling? We’re all fighting battles nobody knows about. We can feel.

We're all fighting battles nobody knows about

I tell people if they’re interested, ask the honest question. This is for parents to their children or to your spouse or to your family or to whomever. You ask the honest question and gets an honest answer. Are you feeling suicidal? Studies show you won’t plant the idea. Either they are or they aren’t. We’re doing a thing with MTV. They have a campaign called ASK. ASK means acknowledge, support, and keep in touch. Sometimes, we don’t know what to do or how to solve the problem or we’re afraid of the answer, but just acknowledge then support and keep in touch. That’s the number one thing and that’s connection.

I want to touch on a few things you’ve told us, which not a lot of parents are not fully aware of it. I know a little bit about it but tell me about this dark web because we only talk about what immediately pops up because we give our kids these phones and iPads. They’re free to do any type of search. There’s no censorship whatsoever on the regular internet, but you’re talking about something else.

I’m saying there’s some safe technology that’s used to manipulate people. We know that and the big tech companies have said that. That’s one of the things I do love about Gabb Wireless. They have filters on there that will ping you if there’s nudity or if there’s things that keep your children away from that because you can’t monitor them 24/7. They will probably be solicited.

They will probably see inappropriate things. There’s a huge issue with sex torsion that a lot of people don’t even know about or aren’t talking about. We’re losing especially males for 14 to 20 at a high rate with sex torsion because they’ll get into social media platforms. Somebody will infiltrate their system and they’ll either send an inappropriate picture, they shouldn’t. This is males and females and adults and children.

They’ll either send an inappropriate picture or manipulate whoever the bad guy is. The bad actor on the other line will manipulate you into a photo like they did Taylor Swift then they extort you for money. They’ll say, “I need $1,000 by two hours if you can’t come up with it.” We had a story about a seventeen-year-old boy. He was a great student, great athlete, life the party, and everybody’s friend.

This happened to him and he ended up taking his own life because he didn’t see any other outcome. It’s dangerous because with our devices, laptops, phones and smartwatches, we get people the power to come into our home. His father was quoted as saying, “My son went up to bed at 10:00 PM. His phone was infiltrated and by 3:00 AM he was murdered by two Nigerian men.” That’s the way they look at it, even though it was a suicide.

They came in and they basically put him in such a tight spot that he didn’t see any way out. We have to be careful. The more I know, the more I don’t want to give. I’ve got almost 2 year old, a 17 year old and a 6 year old. The more I’m seeing with my adult daughters, the less I want to give my six year old. I don’t even want him to have this technology. It’s beautiful and it gives you everything you need at your fingertips. They’re so good and the bad. It has to be a regulation process of how do you manage that.

As a person of working with so many families and kids, I’ve hosted several summits and I always said on them that we don’t open our door, the front door. Somebody knocks and ask, “Can I go see your son upstairs?” A stranger comes, you don’t open the door and say, “Come on. Make sure you go into his room and also close the doors and be with him.” We would never do that.

We wouldn’t even consider it but we do it every day.

It’s happening every minute and sometimes it’s in the bathroom too. As parents, we have to set rules around even if we give it there has to be of boundaries of how you use this. It’s a tool. It has to be a tool. I don’t believe in giving anybody less than six anything technology and being by themselves. If you’re going to do it, you have to have that activity together. We can watch something on iPad but it’s going to be together. You and I are going to do together. It’s a shared activity but leaving it with them and giving phones too early in their life and thinking it’s the same thing to do.

It’s hard because it’s easy. It’s easy to give your little one an iPad or an iPhone and say, “Entertain yourself.” The truth is, most of us are addicted to these, too. It’s easier than having to interact to give them what they want but that’s not the answer.

As you say, I love how dad put it like two people murdered my son. It’s true because that’s what happened. If he didn’t have that phony, if he didn’t have that conversation, he would have never been in his world. He would have been out there.

He was super excited. They were packing for vacation the next day. He was excited. He was living his best life then this comes in. Youth especially don’t know how to handle something that difficult. They respond in a quick way and without weighing out all the consequences. There’s the fear and the shame and all the things that happen. I’ve had somebody do this to me through my email, send an email to me from me saying, “I have video of you watching porn from your own computer. If you don’t send me $1,000 in Bitcoin, I’m going to share it with everyone in your network.”

Imagine if I had watched porn on my computer then I would have been having a panic attack thinking they’re sending this. They hacked into my camera or in my laptop, but I knew. That’s not something I do. I knew that they were lying to me, but imagine if she was on the other foot. Maybe you had done something that you weren’t proud of. They put people in these positions that are so horrible and there’s so much shame, stigma, and fear of this.

It’s like a billion-dollar industry, multi-billion of extortion, fraud, and financial fraud. There’s also even with manipulated media. This is why I’m so passionate about my tech company, DANCan. It stands for Digital Authentication Network Certified Non-negotiable. With AI deep fake manipulated and synthetic media, we literally live in a world where you can’t believe anything that you see, hear or read.

I remember when I was younger, if we saw something on TV, we knew it was real. Unless it was a movie and we knew that it was fake. Now it’s like, they hold competitions and they bring the best people around the globe. They can’t decipher what’s fake. We’re having to authenticate content before it goes out so people know it’s trustworthy, truthful, and transparent. Who put the media out there? When did they do it? If anybody edits it, alters it, one pixel, or one frame then it will show up as altered.

Unfortunately, there was a company a few weeks back, where their CFO sent $25 million through a deep fake and the company lost $25 million. It’s like financial ruin. It’s character assassination and extortion. There’s so much that can happen, political propaganda and manipulation. I’m on a mission as a mom and as a human to eliminate these people who seek to destroy trust, transparency and try to get people to go down this dark web and to end their life or destroy their character. It’s interesting how things have progressed. I love AI for a lot of things, but there’s also so many negative side effects with all the tech.

It’s a tool. It could be used in both directions. the bad and the good. Tell me a little bit, to go back to give parents who may be struggling with this issue in their house. When your daughter, you said, was trying to end her life. How did you find out? How do you open up and ask her? Did you just ask her?

From Struggle To Advocacy

The first time that it happened, she was twelve years old. I got a call from the school saying she was being rushed to the hospital. They didn’t know what was wrong with her. We ended up finding out later that it was a suicide attempt. She was so embarrassed and ashamed. She was twelve years old, so was I, single mom. I felt like the world’s worst parent. I thought, “I must be so horrible that my own child would rather be dead than be with me.”

I felt like such a failure because I’m running a company. I’m running a nonprofit. I’m doing all this stuff. I volunteered the hospital. I had adopted a baby through foster care. I had been a surrogate for a family. I had a baby for a family who couldn’t have kids. I was doing all this as a single parent and I had a good relationship with my kids. It was a shocker to me. I taught suicide prevention because I had a suicide attempt as a youth at twelve years old. I’ve always been passionate about it so I would go with our attorney general in the state and go teach suicide prevention in the schools, “Here’s the signs. Here’s what you look for.”

I saw some of those with her but it was also preteen, puberty, and going into junior high. It was like all these things so they start to pull back. They start to be a little snarky. All the things that teens and preteens usually do. I didn’t take that as a symptom. After it happened, I did not tell anybody. She did not tell anybody. It was like a dirty dark secret we covered for two years because of the stigma and shame associated with it.

She said she wouldn’t do it again then we found ourselves in the same situation. Thankfully, her friend had the courage to call 911. Please focus up in the middle of the night. We found her in time. We got her to Primary Children’s. Primary Children’s did not even have a bed for her. They had so many children, 8 to 18, trying to end their lives. I was distraught. I was having a breakdown in the room and the doctor came in. She was having a breakdown too. She’s like, “We’ve never seen anything like this. There’s an uptick in suicide attempts and mental health. We don’t know what to do.”

We didn’t know for almost two days if she was going to live or have permanent disability or what might happen. She was practically incoherent. I was praying, “Give me a second chance. I’ll do anything.” I volunteered at the hospital doing nobody dies alone in spiritual care. I sat in critical care and trauma like all the floors with the worst patients. I had been through a lot of this, but when you’re sitting there looking at your kid, it’s a lot different and she’s fourteen. She’s this little cute kid.

I’m seeing my baby laying there, thinking like, “How did we get to this point?” It was the second day, I’m in my car and I had a breakdown because I’d been spending all day in the hospital room with her and stirring COVID, which is also bad. I’m trying to find resources. I’m looking everywhere like, “Where do I go? If she lives, what do I do? What vetted resources? What does my insurance take? What does my insurance cover? Can I afford this?” All the things that you look at.

I went on my personal Facebook page and I did the most vulnerable video I’ve ever done and it was hard for me but I said, “I’m here at the hospital I’m not sure what’s going to happen with my child. I need help. Where do I go? What do I do?” That video went viral overnight with 12,000 views. I had hundreds of messages from people who had gone through something similar. People like you and others who I would never expect. It’s like, “Looking in.” Seems like they’ve got a great life. Everything’s going well, perfect family and none of this stuff.

They’re saying, “I lost my son or my mom or my brother.” I used to be a news reporter. I was in the army as a broadcast journalist and public fair specialist. I had graduated high school early. I was a reporter for Fox News at twenty. I’ve had an interesting life and career. I worked in media for quite a while, pretty savvy on all the things. My friends at NBC saw this video I did on my personal page and they reached out to me that next day. they said, “Would you share your story on the news?” I was like, “Are you kidding me? No, I’m not sharing this. It’s painful. It’s personal. I will not.”

They’re like, “It’s a huge problem. Nobody will talk.” I went back to the hospital and I was in there. I was just praying again and I got this message loud and clear. Whatever you believe, the inspiration, the prompting, and the voice I heard said, “Brandy, I’ll give you a second chance. There will not be a third. What will you do?” I was like, “I’ll do anything you want. Anything. What do you want me to do?”

Shortly after, my daughter woke up and she didn’t have any permanent disabilities. I said to her, “Are you glad you woke up or do you wish you would have died this time?” She said, “Mom, I didn’t want to die but it was too late.” Most people don’t want to die. They want to kill what hurts them. They want to stop the pain and they don’t know how to do that. That was a big eye-opener to me.

We went through the process. She was in the hospital for quite a while. She was in treatment, but it was two weeks later. After that, I was like, “What do I need to do? I have a video production company, a studio and a nonprofit. I’ll do anything.” I came back here and I was reaching out to different groups and saying, “How can I support your suicide prevention and mental health missions? Do you need media? What do you need?”

I was finding that there were some things lacking. Things were scattered. It was hard to find. I started working on that, but it was about two weeks later, NBC called me back and they said, “Brandy, will you reconsider? Nobody has been willing to talk to us. It’s a huge, huge problem.” I thought, “Am I being challenged? You said you’d do anything.” I’m like, “Really? Come on.”

I also thought if I’m terrified. I’ve spent my whole career doing scary and dangerous things. I was on TV most of my life, what does an average parent or person feel like? If not me, who? I did it very reluctantly. What I said was, “If you’re watching, stop what you’re doing and go ask your kid. Point blank if they’re suicidal.” The honest questions get honest answers.

After it aired, I had a father reach out to me and he said, “You saved my daughter’s life.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I watched your story on the news. I ran in there to check on her. She had already written a suicide note. She was in the process of trying to end her life. I caught her. I found her. We’re at the hospital getting help. Thank you.” Another family messaged me and they said, “Thanks for being so vulnerable. We watched your story on the news. We talked to our fifteen-year -old son. He confessed he had a planned end to his life this week and we’re getting him help.”

That triggered where we are now with Promise 2 Live. It’s like, if my personal story on local news in Utah could save two kids that I know of. We reached maybe like 15,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 people with that local news show. I thought, “What if we could reach 200,000 or 2 million or whatever?” I remembered Live Aid from 1985 when I was a kid. I thought, “When it matters, people come together.” We created our first event and we did a show as a three hour family friendly show with singers, dancers, celebrities, hope, and healing resources.

We put it on and we reached 160,000. We did it again. We broke it down though into a kids show and a teen show which people can see on our website at Promise2Live.org. We have all three shows on there. We did a kid, teen and adult show. We reached around 400,000. For this year, we’ll be doing it on September 10th. We think we’ll reach a minimum of a million plus. This has been an opportunity for us to do that.

With the Promise 2 Live campaign, we also have coins. These are our Promise 2 Live coins. We call them Pocket Hugs. O n the back, it says, “When times are tough and you don’t know what to do. Here’s a hug for me to you. Call or text 988 if you struggling.” We’re on a mission to give out 100,000 of these to 100,000 of these letters and get 100,000 promises. Here’s the promise. I’ll share that real quick.

The Promise 2 Live is this, every 40 seconds around the globe, somebody dies by suicide. It takes about 25 to 30 seconds to go online to Promise 2 Live and make a promise now, whether or not you struggle. Whether or not you struggling, we want everyone everywhere to make this promise. I promise that if I ever find myself in that hard place or that dark place or struggling, then I will reach out for help to a friend, a family member, or a trusted resource like NAMI or AFSP or Caller/Text 988.

Every 40 seconds around the globe, somebody dies by suicide. It takes about 25 to 30 seconds to go online to promise to live.

In the United States, 988’s been out a year and a half and only about 18% of the people know about it. It’s like the 24/7 hotline you can call or text for help. We want to get people to do that. The second part of the Promise 2 Live is to once you make the promise, share it on your social media platforms. When we start talking about these things in the open, we bring light to them. It starts conversations. It stops stigma and when we can stop the stigma, we can start saving more lives.

Thank you for sharing and for everything you’re doing. I was getting goosebumps of half of the stuff you were telling me because I am a suicide survivor. I had that promise to live when I didn’t it but now I do. I Promise to live.

Promise To Live

Thank you and me too. I went through this. I had a young man who has been struggling. He attempted suicide recently. I connected with him and I said, “You got to make me a promise to live.” He did. He messaged me a few days ago and he said, “I’m struggling but I made you a promise. I’m going to stick to it. I’m here but I need help.” I said, “There’s help. You’re not alone. There are resources.”

For the last three years, I’ve made it my mission to find all of these resources and put them into one place. If somebody goes to our site or have resources, reach out to me. We’re taking vetted resources and we’re putting it one place because it’s not about ego. It’s about impact. It’s not about money. It’s about meaning. It’s getting people the help and the hope that they need and the resources at their fingertips when they need it.

What makes our cool is that we’re not trying to build our own audience. We’re putting on a show. We’re doing a weekly TV show that’s going to be launching soon. With our live stream on September 10th, if anyone wants to share the live stream, we’re providing a feed super easy. All they do is click a link and it allows us to send it through their channel on September 10th during our broadcast. We’re sending our message on multiple platforms and multiple devices so that people are getting the information that they need and where they are, from the people they already know, trust and follow.

Your audience could say, “I trust Kohila and we’ve got this community and this connection. If she’s sharing Promise 2 Live, I’m going to watch that.” It will trigger and say, “You’re live.” All your people can see it. We were trying to bring the message to the people where they are and how they needed it through people that they trust. We’ve been working with some influencers and CEOs, survivors and celebrities. All of us have a circle of influence and you don’t have to be big time to make a difference. You just have to want to participate.

All of us have a circle of influence. You don't have to be big time to make a difference.

Even with few number of audience, it can help one person. It doesn’t have to be huge a number. It doesn’t have to be huge.

That one person maybe my kid or your kid or you or me. Sometimes life is hard and we might not want to live for ourselves. This is what I told my daughter. I have the cutest little six-year-old boy that I adopted from foster care. They’re best friends. My 17-year -old and my 6-year -old are best friends. I said, “If you don’t want to live for yourself some days, can you live for him?” I know that’s a little manipulative. I get it but if it keeps my child alive because she’s choosing to make a commitment, a pledge, or a promise to stick around for her brother and it gets her through these challenging times because life gets better.

Aren’t you glad you’re here? I’m so glad I lived. I’m so glad my daughter’s here and I think she loves her life now. There was five hard years where she didn’t and now we finally made it to this next level where we’ve learned how to cope. We’ve learned how to connect and how to converse. Those are things that we’re teaching.

We’re doing monthly mental health town halls with silicon slopes where we’re bringing in CEOs and executives, bringing things to work because whatever you do at work, you’re bringing home. Whatever you’re doing at home, you bring to work. We’re trying to educate people on tips, tools, and resources and how you can get through it. That’s been my mission, is learning. The more I learn, the more I want to share because I’m like, “I never knew all the resources out there.” It’s helping me a lot.

A lot of the time, as you said, there’s social resources out there but how do you know it’s the right one? It could be unique to validate it, too.

That’s a hard one because some people have interesting ideas on what works. It might work for them and that’s great but if we’re sharing stuff, I want to make sure we’re having safe messaging. We’re doing things that are not going to cause more harm than good. We’ve teamed up and implemented best practices from all the major mental health and suicide prevention groups globally and in the United States to do that.

It’s amazing. Why are youth doing this? Why are they in this place to begin with? Did you come across any research or do you have anything?

A lot of it is what we talked about. It’s the disconnection. It’s a lack of belonging and lack of community. All these kids go to school and they don’t feel like they have real friends. They feel like they have friends online. There was a girl overseas who posted on her Instagram. She was sixteen, “I’m feeling down. Should I kill myself?” Sixty-nine percent of her so-called friends voted yes and she did. There, they were like, “We need to charge you guys with something.” I feel like we devalue things.

We devalue people and relationships. We live in this virtual world. In addition to this, I was a single mom. Thankfully, I’m married now. I’m remarried to my best friend, but families are falling apart at record levels. There’s a lot of broken homes. There’s a lot of working parents and I get it. I’m a working parent. I always have been. I try to teach quality over quantity because some of us don’t have all the time in the day to give it, but we need to make the time we have count.

I feel like there’s a lot of disconnection with parents, with relationships, a lack of fathers and family time, family dinners, family outings, and family prayer. There’s all kinds of things you could look at but there’s the comparison and manipulation. It’s hard. I’m trying to disconnect to reconnect. Disconnect from my stuff so I can set things up and say, “We’re doing family dinner. We’re not going to do phones this time. We’re going to go for a hike or a walk or a bike ride.” Getting out into nature, we know that’s important.

Finding things that make us happy. Finding things that give us hope, joy, and purpose. If you can’t find it, then you need to keep looking. There’s groups out there and resources. I know NAMI and AFSP offer classes. If you’re struggling or somebody you know is struggling or if you lost someone. There’s all kinds of resources. The problem is most people don’t know where to look for them. They also feel like it’s weak to ask for help. It’s weak to share that they’re struggling and it’s not weak. It’s strong. It takes strength and faith to say, “I’m having a hard time. I need a little help.”

Find things that make you happy. Find things that give you hope, joy, and purpose.

We’re also living in a society everybody wants to pretend everything is okay.

You don’t want to be broken. Nobody wants to be broken. We’re all going through things. We all are. Every single one of us. We’re going through battles and challenges nobody even knows about. When my daughter first attempted, I had to come back and show up at a big meeting and act like nothing was going on when inside I was broken. I was devastated. It was so hard for me. I felt like I couldn’t talk about it.

If you did, we also have that, “What are you doing as a mother?”

The fear and the judgment to think, “You must be horrible.” I remember when I worked in news, I was a news reporter. I covered this horrific story about a dad backing over his 2- or 3-year-old and the child died. I remember I went there and I saw everything. I felt bad, but I was like, “How irresponsible are they? That would never happen to me.” It was almost the next week, my three-year-old was backed over by my mom. It was a fluke freak accident. Luckily, the car stopped in time. I watched it play out in slow motion. I thought to myself, “They’re for the grace of God, go I.”

All of us can have everything get swept away in a moment’s notice. None of us are better than anyone else. You might think you’re the world’s greatest parent. Maybe you were and maybe you tried. That doesn’t mean that you might not go through this because so many of us are. It’s brave for us to talk about it because I can still be a kick butt business woman running a multi-million-dollar companies and be a mom and be struggling with my kids and be worried about my health or my weight or whatever it is.

It’s like, it’s okay to be human. That’s what we’re here for. We’re having this human experience. We don’t have to pretend like everything’s perfect. In fact, the best relationships I’ve ever had came out from being with people in their worst moments. The time I spent with them in the hospital when it was life or death and you’re there for them. Tears are shed on both ends. I didn’t look at them and think they’re weak. I looked at them and thought they were human and lovable. We bonded and connected. Those are some of my most important relationship.

Acceptance, Kindness, Love

We are going through a turbulent time, especially the preteens and teens. It’s getting younger. Wanting to fix the self. Even there’s people who are not happy with kids or not happy with their self-image.

They’re living in a filtered world though. It’s like everything you see is filtered. When you see yourself in reality, you feel like you’re not enough or you don’t measure up. That’s not real life. I remember when Photoshop first came out and they were like, “Whoa.” Everybody lost their minds thinking, “You can Photoshop people?” Now half the people I see in the real world, I don’t even recognize because every time they get on social media, they’re using these beauty filters that smooth and slender. I met somebody and I literally did not even recognize them.

It gets me when older people or older generation uses them because we are the people who have to set stage. I never use any filter or anything that I put out into anything because I’m an older generation. I have to be the role model for my younger people who are looking at this that you don’t need to be perfect. Whatever you got is whatever you are going to be. That’s beautiful as it is.

You don't need to be perfect. Whatever you got is whatever you are going to be. And that's beautiful as it is.

I don’t use any filters on my social media. I’ve played around with cat ears and all the fun filters with my little boy. It’s like, “That’s fun for playing around, but that’s not real life.” That’s a joke for my stuff. Even I haven’t had professional headshots done in a while and I did them months ago. The photographer took a lot of liberty with Photoshop and went in and smoothed out my wrinkles and my skin and gave me this and this. I said, “No, put it back. That’s not me. That’s not what I want to portray. I want people when they meet me in public to go, she’s got a couple of wrinkles.”

I should. I should have that. I should have gray hair or two or I know I’m not 125 pounds anymore. I’m okay with me. I love me. I’m happy with me. I know my heart. I know what I’m doing and I don’t need to try to be better than what I am because what I am is wonderful. When we can show that for our children and for the people. I mentor high school and college girls through a group called Women Who Succeed, that’s important to me. Be who you are. Be who God made you. Be proud of who you are. Embrace and love it. Don’t try to filter it.

Be proud of who you are. Embrace it and love it. Don't try to filter it. 

That’s why there’s many motivational speakers coming. They have to be very mindful when they’re speaking not to alter their lips. That’s not normal lips. Those altered lips that stick out. That’s not normal. We’re never born that. Nobody’s born that way. You can be a motivational speaker and say, “I went through all of this,” because I can’t take you serious and look past your lips.

Your lips show me that you haven’t recovered yet for whatever you’re trying to fix yourself. Those people become people who motivate others. I feel like that’s why our society is also getting into this sickness because they think, “My lip has to look like this,” because as role models, that’s what we do. We look up to them. It’s all false. You’re going to be a motivational speaker, if you want to take that stage, remember to leave yourself alone.

That’s a tricky one because I worked in TV. I was on TV every day. I was doing a show and there was a lot of pressure to look a certain way and to do certain things. I remember in 2009, I came to the pressure and I got breast implants. I got them removed in 2020 after they almost killed me. I always hated it and I always felt fake. I know there’s a fine line because people go, “Do you color your hair?” I do. That’s my natural color. This is the color I like. Do you wear makeup? I do. I try to accentuate my stuff. I like makeup.

Some people don’t like makeup and that’s fine. They’re still beautiful. This is my personal preference. I did feel fake when I had the implants and with some of this stuff. I feel different strokes for different folks. I’m not going to judge you because I’ve been there and there was a lot of pressure. Especially having a TV career to look a certain way.

If everybody’s looking this way and you’re in the back like, “I got mom-bod or a brush,” then you feel pressure. I’m so thankful that I am my age. I’m more happy and confident than I’ve ever been because I embrace my natural beauty, which is outside but mostly inside. That’s how I see it. What are you putting out there? What are you giving the world? Your heart and your energy and the magnetic field that you radiate is so much more important than what you see here. This will go away. This will stay.

We have to help our younger generation see that but there is so much in their face 24/7 on these devices they’re hooked up to that they see, as you said. We’re so disconnected, even though we’re connected.

If I had lips like you, too, I wouldn’t get fillers.

I’m just saying, even if I didn’t, you wouldn’t see me putting anything. I color my hair a little bit there and here. It doesn’t matter, but I’m saying, going and altering my face will never happen. I have big nose, so what? That’s me.

You look great.

We always are critics, too. We’re the worst critics of ourselves. My nose is like that. My mouth is like this but learning to accept is something that we have to teach our kids from the early stages.

Love who you are. Accept who you are. You’re beautiful the way you are. Whatever it is, your flaws. I look at my daughter, she’s beautiful. She thinks she has bad nose. I’m like, “You don’t. You’re gorgeous. You’re just beautiful.” Once we can hopefully teach people to be authentic, be authentic, be vulnerable, show your real self, and your real heart. You don’t need to be anything other than you are.

A lot of acceptance are starting to happen in many ways but at that also brings another conversation about changing ourselves to whoever we want to be. That’s also happening too at the same time so where do we stop?

There’s always a balance. As you talk about that and it’s like, “I’m being authentic and I’m being vulnerable,” then you’re rude. You’re seriously overweight because you’re like, “This is who I am. I’m going to eat everything.” There’s a balance in all things. It’s like love who you are but if you love who you are, then you want to take care of yourself and make sure that your heart’s not going to stop.

You’re making good choices and things like that and doing things in moderation one way or another on what brings you joy and peace. The key in my life has been finding meaning, purpose, and doing things that matter. It’s like, “You’re only here for a certain amount of time. What are you going to do with it? Are you going to feel good?”

The key to life is finding meaning, finding purpose, and doing things that matter.

Is there anything else you want to tell parents who are reading?

Talk to your kids. Spend time with them. I sometimes joke around. I’m like, “It’s time for forced family fun,” because sometimes they don’t want to do it. I’m like, “No, forced family fun. We’re all going to play a card game or we’re all going to go outside and play soccer.” We’re going to do something. It’s their job to be like, “Eh,” then they get out there and have a lot of fun. Be the parent. They have friends. Be the parent.

Let them know that they’re loved. Acknowledge all the good they do. I’ve learned a ton about the subconscious and what the programs were putting on our children until they’re seven. I’ve been working hard because I only have about a week left before my little boy turns seven. Let them know they’re loved. Love them. I tell myself multiple times a day and my last piece of advice for anyone reading or watching would be choose kindness, give grace, and lead with love.

That’s the answer. Love is always the answer. No matter what it is, love them, choose the high road, choose kindness whatever it is, and give them grace. We need grace. We want grace. We ask for grace. Try to give that. When somebody’s cutting you off or being rude, the way people treat you is not about you. It’s a reflection of what they’re going through so choose kindness, give grace, and lead with love. You’ll never regret that.

Thank you and promise to live.

Promise2Live.org, please go and make the promise. Share the promise. Together, we can bring hope and resources and get people to stick around. There’s always hope. The world is a better place because you exist and because of people watching exist. We need you. Stick around, please.

Thank you so much, Brandy.

Got it, thanks.

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That was a very interesting, scary, and thought-provoking conversation we had with Brandy. Every four seconds, there’s someone trying to take their life. That’s a shocking number. She was sharing so many things with us, how and why children are at this point. Especially now why is mental health and suicide rate are so high because we think we’re connected but at the same time, we’re so disconnected. We’re not present.

We may look like our body is present but my mind is not present. When I’m with my kids, you may feel like that. If you’re doing that, it’s time to change. I am working on that as well. As you said, we’re all connected to our phone so we have to make time for our family. It’s a hard thing to do because we are busy. We have so many things to do, but this is a must because if your child is struggling with no connection, no real connection, not having you present and replacing by cell phone or iPad. It’s impossible to connect. Disconnect so that you can connect and be present. It is important.

The other thing that she talked about is Promise 2 Live. Now she also said ask your child, “Do you have these thoughts?” It’s a hard conversation. Why would you ask your child that? She said, “Instead of looking for the signs, just ask them.” I don’t know how you think about that. First, when she said that, for me, it came, “I don’t want to put things into my child’s mind if they’re not thinking.” You can have a conversation around it.

After that, I started thinking about it in a different light where I said, “If I don’t ask them I’ll never know. If I asked them then we can have a conversation that many teenagers at this stage,” because you may be going through things that you may not know how to talk to another person. You can share a story about another family who went through it.

I have families who have lost their kids to drugs, alcohol, and other behaviors. Asking them is not a bad thing to do. Her advice is very important to ask, are you having these thoughts? Don’t ask in isolation, but ask and have a conversation. One of the things I find these days with many families is having genuine conversation, genuine connection at home.

You have to make time for that. There is no excuse in that. I don’t give myself that excuse either. We all have to make an effort to do that for our family. This is a very heavy subject. It’s not easy to watch your child suffer. Be there for them. Have great conversations. Be present. Make sure you follow what they’re watching. Don’t give them the phone and think it’s replacing you. It’ll never replace you.

They still need you. You have to be there. These are vital years in their life that you’re going to mold. Be that person and parent for them. Look out for help that’s available to you. As she said, there’s so much help available that we don’t like to think about or talk about until it happens to us. Let’s be proactive and positive parents. I always say, at the center of all this is our precious children. We have to protect them. I know it’s hard these days to be parents, but you can do it. I want to end with her beautiful message, we all have to promise to live and we have to protect our children. Thank you.

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About Tonja Henderson

Aligned Learning Revolution (Activate, Accelerate, Achieve) | Brandy Vega | Suicide Prevention

Brandy Vega is a dynamic entrepreneur, speaker, media guru, mother, philanthropist, and advocate. She’s the founder of DANcan, An Innovative Tech Company, CEO of Vega Media Studios, a leading video production and media studio and founder of Good Deed Revolution and The Promise2Live mental health and suicide prevention. At 17 years old she joined the Army as a broadcaster and public affairs specialist. During her career, she reported for Fox News, produced shows for worldwide audiences, and served in executive positions. She also does freelance work for several companies. Brandy's passions also extend to humanitarian work, where she founded her own nonprofit organization, Good Deed Revolution, to promote mental health and suicide prevention. Brandy's adventurous spirit, resiliency, and determination are evident in all that she does, making her an asset to any team or project. She's also a member of Absolute Motivation.

Mental HealthSuicide PreventionSuicide HelpTeenage SuicideSocial MediaPromise To Live
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Kohila Sivas

Kohila Sivas is a parent and a lifelong learner. She has been a classroom teacher at all levels and a Special Needs Instructor and is a Professional Math Interventionist, a Master NLP coach, and a #1 Best selling author.

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