Close friends of Veronica Hoffman, the international fetish model and pro domme who died in August, are to launch a mental health foundation in her memory.
Veronica, who suffered from bipolar disorder, took her own life on August 2 in Los Angeles while suffering a particularly severe bout of depression. She would have been 30 years old today (November 7).
Her suicide was a tragic loss to the fetish/BDSM community and to all those who loved her. But it was also a reminder of the extra difficulty fetish/BDSM people with depressive conditions often feel they have in getting the help they need.
A few of the people closest to Veronica, including her partner Joseph Bishara in LA and Fetishistas publisher Tony Mitchell in London, felt that it was time to do something about this.
They decided that they would create a resource specifically for sufferers in our community — a resource that would help people to find alternatives to the course of action that sadly, for Veronica, seemed the best one to take.
That resource now has a name: The Veronica Hoffman Foundation. The form that it will initially take is a not-for-profit website aimed at providing:
— A “kink aware” resource for the exchange of information about depression and related health issues, including a directory of kink-friendly individuals and services in the mental health field on both sides of the Atlantic;
— Forums for the safe sharing of problems, ideas and experiences;
— Help and advice from healthcare professionals; and
— Opportunities to participate in research aimed at improving professional understanding of the particular problems of those in the fetish/BDSM community.
Through the website, the Foundation will also campaign to destigmatise mental health issues within the fetish/BDSM community, and to improve understanding of kink sexuality and lifestyles within the healthcare community.
Construction of the first phase of the site is about to begin. But for the Foundation’s aims to be fulfilled, the support of people from within the fetish/BDSM community, academia and the healthcare professions is crucial.
So the Foundation is keen to hear from anyone with an interest in its objectives — and the more vested the interest, the better!
Its principals especially want to hear from scene people who have experience of depressive illness (whether directly or through family/friends), and from kink-aware/kink-friendly professionals in the health research and practice fields. What do such people think of the proposals, and how, if at all, could they help?
And of course they would like to hear from anyone else sympathetic to the Foundation’s aims, with relevant skills that they might be prepared to offer on a volunteer basis (for example, moderating the forums).
If you would like to offer support of any kind — even if it’s just words of encouragement — or if you would simply like to be kept informed of the project’s progress, the Foundation’s principals would be happy to hear from you.
Please e-mail in the first instance to: TheVHF@gmail.com. All correspondence will be treated in strictest confidence.