Local Celebs Stand Up for Mental Health

Last night was an amazing night for mental health in the Roanoke Valley!

At Celebrity Tip Off, the community raised $56,000, which goes directly to helping our neighbors heal invisible wounds.

Thanks to you, people in our community can get the help they need when and where they need it.

Speaking of invisible wounds, #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth is around the corner and everyone is talking about it.

Prince Henry shared his story with the world and ever since more and more celebrities have been speaking out for the first time. Some celebs, like Demi Lovato, Jared Padalecki, and Lady Gaga re-voiced their stances to end stigmas and further grow mental health awareness.

At the 2017 Celebrity Tip Off, with an abundance of local celebrities in my arsenal, I turned the question to a few of our famous waiters to discuss how mental health has impacted them and why they speak up.


Sheriff Tim Allen knows his jail is the largest mental health facility in the area. That’s because it offers intense “in-patient” services. He also knows that it may not be the best place for such services, stating it’s not as clinical as he would like.

But let’s get real, it’s better than not addressing the issue at all, which is how many people with severe mental illness end up in a continuous cycle of incarceration. Sheriff Allen hopes to prevent that from happening.

A local program through the Sheriff’s Office acts as a discharge planner. Those leaving incarceration with mental health issues have services to make appointments, get prescriptions filled, and find housing. The purpose is to get them back into society won’t be so difficult.

Fun fact: Sheriff Allen’s mom used to work for Family Service as an in-home health aide. Seeing her do the job every day helped inspired Sheriff Allen to keep working for mental health.


Lynda Foster’s grandfather has bipolar disorder and the stigma of speaking out has always hit home for her. She says when we break our foot we let everyone know we need time to heal. When someone we know has cancer we rally around them.

For someone who suffers from a mental illness, there is such a stigma that it prevents many people from asking for help. Lynda believes that everyone should have the ability to share their whole journey. That’s why she advocates for mental health. Lynda said It’s important to make people more aware and de-stigmatize the issue because so many people need help.


Grayson Goldsmith believes that things like depression and anxiety really does touch all of us.

“Literally, I don’t know a single person who either:  A. doesn’t know a person suffering from one/both or B. isn’t going through it.”

Humbled by the fact that she is considered a local celeb, Grayson wants to do all she can on any platform she has to bring awareness to this issue because it’s a real problem. Asking for help is incredibly hard and brave. People should be able to get the help they deserve.


If I had to pick a favorite (sorry guys) Chef T’s story would be it. I was honored that she first

told me, then the audience at Celebrity Tip Off that mental illness doesn’t just knock at her front door, it shares a home with her.

Chef T’s daughter is currently in a mental facility after struggling with a string of misdiagnoses spanning over several years. She knows firsthand that mental illness can tear a family apart. She believes, as a society we need to stop tip toeing around the real issue of mental illness and address it head on.

Chef T said no matter the situation, treating mental health can make people more ready for the world or any situation.

It was truly my honor to speak with as many of the celebrity waiters

as I could about what mental health means to them.

The more advocates mental health has anywhere,

from the glitz and glam of Hollywood to right here in Roanoke,

we can eliminate the stigma of mental illness

and begin the process to heal those invisible wounds.