Ashley Womble began her career as a magazine editor, working her way up from an editorial assistant at Time, Inc. to a senior editor at Hearst Digital Media. She was an integral part of the launch team at Cosmopolitan.com, where she contributed lifestyle, health, and celebrity articles.
Everything seemed rosy on her social media feed, but in real life, she was struggling with depression while simultaneously trying to get her younger brother into treatment for schizophrenia. After writing series of personal essays for Salon and The Morning News, she was flooded with e-mails from strangers who were also freaked out by the stress and challenge of dealing with mental illness, and often had nowhere to turn. As she became aware of how many people were looking for answers, Ashley found herself dissatisfied with merely writing about the problem. She wanted to become part of the solution.
Ashley is now making a career of changing the national conversation around mental health. In 2011, she began working on the front lines of mental health at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. She developed prevention campaigns that would resonate with teens and twenty-somethings who have a higher rate of suicide attempts, and developed partnerships with Facebook, Tumblr, and Google. She has since worked at Fountain House, an international organization whose mission is to offer people with serious mental illnesses the tools to integrate themselves into society. She led the organization through a rebrand, which including marketing a tuition-based program specifically for college students. After a successful tenure there she was recruited to rebrand and build partnerships for Phoenix House, a national network of addiction treatment centers.
As she began to work in the field, Ashley learned that most people don’t get the care they need to survive simply because they don’t know how to navigate the overly complicated health care system. In effort to communicate more effectively and connect people to care, she earned a Masters in Public Health (MPH).
Ashley has written for many publications, including Women’s Health, Health, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Salon, and received Lone Star Awards for Best Magazine Writing in 2012 and 2015 for Austin Monthly. She regularly speaks to the media about suicide prevention, mental illness, and substance abuse, including US Weekly, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and TechCrunch. She has presented at conferences such as South by Southwest, the American Public Health Association, and the American Association of Suicidology.