The story is hard but it is true, the hearts are broken but strength is found. You see...the Barnard family (including Lonnie, Matt, Stephanie, Amie, and Leslie, along with Vicky's beloved son Jimmy) will continue to fulfill Vicky Lynn Barnard's (vlb) legacy and fight. The vlb Foundation found its beginnings after the tragic death of Vicky Lynn Barnard, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, breast cancer survivor, and friend to so many.
In 2019, Vicky Barnard began a journey in the care of and support of a family member (a brother) who was unstable, suffered from severe anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, delirium, and depression. After 3 attempted suicide attempts and a manic episode, that all sent him to the hospital and mental health facilities, there was yet something missing. A number of challenges came together including very elusive diagnosis, no real plan of care, non-compliance and cooperation of care, misinformation from facilities or non-communication despite having POA (power of medical attorney), mistreatment and disrespect of Vicky the caregiver by doctors, case workers, and staff, and much more.
Vicky always had the instinct that there was no clear diagnosis that made sense, and she also became frustrated at the entire mental health system as she became frustrated, helpless, and ran in circles with doctors, case workers, case managers, and staff. She was laughed at, mocked, and treated rude on many occasions as she sought answers, asked questions, and pleaded for help. On one occasion, a staff member at one facility even told her to "Google it!" when she asked about one of the diagnostic words on her brother's discharge papers. The altogether push and fight to get him better care and have him committed became her demise.
On the morning of January 29th, her brother took her life while she was in her sleep. That same week and just a few days prior, her brother saw a doctor after attempting suicide in late December and being discharged in early January. At that 15 minute doctor visit, my mother questioned the facilities about his plan of care because he really should have been under care and she was expecting him to be readmitted to a local mental health facility. The answer was, "he should be getting a call on his cell phone from the psychiatrist." My mother was reaching her breaking point as she struggled as she wanted her brother out of her home, as her own health and mental health were put under constant pressure. Unfortunately, she never succeeded with her 2 year journey of getting her brother the proper care and support.
Now we reach today, a family has lost the centerpiece of their family, the one person who kept smiling and bringing everyone joy, kindness, support, an ear, friendship, and just genuine Christian fellowship. Vicky would be happy that The vlb Foundation is continuing her work to advocate, find resources, seek support, and provide ongoing assistance to those who have reached their pivotal limit. We thank so many of you who have helped us begin this journey, and so many of you who have donated so generously to get this foundation started. We will continue to seek support, collaborate with faith-based organizations, work together with Christian-based counselors-therapists-physicians, and work with other organizations to improve, advocate, and support mental health.