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This Father Used His Child's Suicidal Struggles to Help Save the Youth in His Community

An issue in Mark Bradley’s own household sparked an unexpected path to helping others.

A local from South Jersey who went to Timber Creek High School in Sicklerville, New Jersey, Bradley developed himself into a fitness coach that was focused on helping the people in his community, including those with mental disabilities, to augment their physique and adjust their diet plans.

Going on to become a successful fitness coach and account executive, Bradley was living his best life until one of his three kids started to experience some suicidal struggles amid the pandemic.

“I think once this pandemic hit, there’s just been an alarming rate of mental struggles that the youth have been dealing with, and by working with him, and getting him back involved in the community and involved in sports, and getting the support that he needs has been night and day. I’m completely proud of the progress that's been made. We just want to take that pain and turn that strength and use that force for good. Then how can we continue to help our family but then help other families as well? And that’s what the foundation was formed around.”

In comes Fight for Life Foundation, which was recently created by Bradley and his family. The foundation uses health and fitness to bring awareness to the rise of suicide, utilizing resources for those who need support.

But there are signs leading up to those who may contemplate the dark path of suicide. For children, Bradley said it’s important to always communicate with your son or daughter, as a lack of communication could mean things are swept under the rug, which allows future issues to pop up.

“I think as parents, we need to be proactive and just kind of communicate with our children, (and) be more interactive with them and kind of get the feel of where their mental head space is at.”

The foundation, though, wasn’t fully created when Bradley’s son was going through his situation. To combat isolation, Bradley ensured his son was involved in the community and playing sports, while also seeking professional therapy, which to Bradley, is very important in the Black community.

“Even in the Black community as a whole... I think we really don’t look at therapy as something that we should do,” Bradley said.

With Bradley’s experience as a mental health professional combined with his passion for fitness, he was able to help his son become more socially active, which is one key to fighting suicide.

To help other families prevent suicide, the foundation partnered with American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Focused on "Project 2025," Bradley's foundation will center on healthcare.

The Timber Creek alumnus’ goal is to help folks complete a health and wellness journey to fight against suicide, while also raising funds to put towards the larger goal of Project 2025.

“One of the things I think is important is helping people in the community on an individual basis,” Bradley said. “There are parents who maybe can’t afford to go to that karate studio or to get involved in the community sports program, because maybe they don’t have the resources. I would like to see the foundation do in the future is be able to help those families individually. … This way their child can participate in things in the community, get out of the house and get involved. So there’s not a barrier that’s stopping those families who need those services.”

It’s easy for Bradley to break these barriers. He is a seasoned professional with a decade of experience in leadership, team performance, and operations management across multiple industries. He brings a unique combination of creativity, organization, and motivational skills to the table thanks to his background in solving problems and improving processes and workflows, along with his experience working closely with senior-level management, which allowed him to think outside the box and constantly strive for excellence.

As a leader with a proven ability to manage and lead diverse teams, improve workplace cultures, and drive results, Bradley’s life goal is to help others unlock their full potential.

Check out the full interview here.


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