Nac Safe Place holds first annual suicide awareness walk

Nac Safe Place started this awareness event because of an increase in suicides in the East Texas area.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 1:39 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - As the month of September continues on, so do suicide awareness events.

Nac Safe Place Founder Alana Culpepper said, “We got together, and instead of just saying ‘we have a problem,’ we’re trying to resolve the problem.”

She said they started this awareness event because of an increase in suicides in the East Texas area.

“A lot of people, they struggle, and they struggle in silence, but we want people to know that it’s ok to struggle, and there are people that are struggling right along with them, and that’s going to be who we are,” she said.

Culpepper said they’re going to get in the fight with those suffering from mental illness.

“And say, ‘It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to have a bad day, and it’s ok to say no sometimes,’ but we want them to know that it is ok, and that we’re here, and they have all the support that they need,” said Culpepper.

One participant of the suicide awareness walk, Makynze Garrett, expressed her appreciation for the group.

“It means a lot to me because I have struggled with mental health because I just never really learned how to love myself, but there’s a lot of great things about me that I should love about myself,” said Garrett.

Nac Safe Place Board President Becky Eldridge-Clark said they’re looking to make mental health support more approachable.

“If you’re really struggling, reach out because what we don’t want is people to leave us sooner than they need to because they’re struggling with mental illness, and they didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Eldridge-Clark.

Culpepper said their next step is to open up an office space to give people in the community a place to go for services they may need.