Speaking to Good Morning America, 16-year-old Toni said following her father's tragic death, it's inspired her to "change the conversation" around stigmas surrounding addiction and mental health.
Toni and her brother Christopher have launched a new initiative, called 'Stop the Stigma', where they intend to educate young people about substance abuse disorder through a program that will be launched in schools across America.
The Stop the Stigma website has recently launched, where in an open letter Toni wrote:
My dad’s death was completely preventable. We need to stop the stigma that does not allow us to see that this is a disease and a mental health disorder, not a moral flaw. The former perspective saves lives, the latter ends them.
In the open letter, Toni explains that her late father began to experiment with drugs at the age of 14 which onset a panic disorder, but because he never told anyone, he suffered alone.
He explained to us that up until that moment he felt he could do anything and that life was great and full of possibilities. Then all that changed.
She then goes on to explain that Chris learned from his mistakes and passed those lessons onto his kids.
He taught us the importance of understanding addiction... Yet it is something that is not taught and not discussed enough. I want to help change that.
Read the full open letter from Toni Cornell here.
It's pretty heavy to read, but such an important subject to talk about.