Harrisonburg businesses raise awareness, money for suicide prevention

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 7:29 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, VA - It’s National Suicide Prevention Week and some Harrisonburg businesses are hoping to raise awareness and money.

Pale Fire Brewing Co. in Harrisonburg hosted a fundraiser on Monday for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

The fundraiser will continue throughout the week and the money will be used to help provide more resources for those struggling with their mental health.

“We work in four areas: research, education, advocacy, and support for people who have lost loved ones or people who have had lived experience. Meaning those who have had suicide attempts or deal with ideation,” said Markita Madden, Program Manager for the Virginia Chapter of the AFSP.

Throughout the week, customers will be able to purchase special $15 cups from Pale Fire and $14 from those purchases will go to the AFSP. The fundraiser also included live music, raffle tickets, and donation collections.

The fundraiser was organized by Kevin Long. It’s part of his way to honor his daughter whom he lost to suicide three years ago.

“I have dedicated myself to raising funds and raising awareness. If I can help one person then I felt like I’ve done something in her honor,” said Long.

Long said one of his top priorities is making sure that people are able to get help even when there is a shortage of mental health professionals. He said he wants people to know they are not alone.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Long said. “There are people out there who want to help. I’ve gotten so much support for the grief that I’ve had and just seeing the people that have come out today there is a lot of support, so if you need help ask someone,” he said.

The AFSP will be doing educational outreach throughout the week and later in the month to help make people alert and work to prevent suicide.

“The biggest message we try to get out to people is not to be afraid to speak up, not to be afraid for yourself or others if you have a concern about someone that you care about. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and have those conversations,” said Madden.

Pale Fire will be collecting donations for the AFSP throughout the week at its location on 217 S. Liberty Street in Harrisonburg.

Jack Browns and Billy Jacks at 80 South Main Street are also helping raise money for the foundation this week.