Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) hosted its final event of the summer in Sherman Park Saturday afternoon, connecting locals with mental health resources as September marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
While mental illness and suicide can often come off as stigmatizing topics, OVP understands these conversations are crucial to the community.
"It is so important to start the dialogue. We know that stigma is prevalent you know definitely in communities of color," said Kendrick.
Resources like Rogers Behavioral Health, Community Medical Services, The Parenting Network, and several more were present with therapists to chat with. The event also provided an opportunity for people to share personal testimonies affected by suicide in any way.
According to the CDC, in 2019 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in America claiming the lives of more than 47,500 people.
"Right now where we are those numbers are still increasing," said Kendrick.
Simmone Kilgore, a local therapist, was present to connect with locals. "We just want people to know we love them and that there is healing available. As long as you're breathing there's hope," said Kilgore.
For those struggling with thoughts of suicide or mental illness of any form, you're encouraged to contact the Milwaukee County Crisis Line at (414) 257-7222. The hotline provides free mental health services at any time.