ENC Couple works to raise awareness for suicide prevention

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and one ENC couple is working to raise awareness of the topic even more.

Suicide has affected the lives of Keri and Joseph Burke in different ways. Now, the couple has made it their mission to raise awareness for suicide prevention and provide mental health resources. This comes as the latest numbers from the CDC show suicide rates here in North Carolina are on the rise.

Out of the darkness comes a suicide prevention walk.

“It’s hard on families, friends, and we just wanna be able to spread awareness, spread some help,” said Keri Burke, one of the suicide prevention walk’s co-founders.

It will be held on October 6th at 3 p.m. at the Greenville Town Common to honor Keri and Joseph Burke’s nephew, Tristan.

“In 2018, I lost my nephew to suicide. It was kind of out of the blue and ever since then, it’s been my goal to spread the message to as many people because suicide is preventable,” said Joseph Burke, another suicide prevention walk co-founder.

The walk aims to let people know help is available to those struggling as well as those who’ve had mental health troubles shake their families.

“I have a twin sister who, at the time, her boyfriend committed suicide in front of her, and it has affected her life and my family’s life in a not-so-great way our whole lives,” said Keri Burke.

Starting a conversation on the topic may be hard for some, but the Burkes want to help in any way they can. Vendors and mental health resources will be available at the walk this fall.

“A lot of people think if they’ve dealt with suicide that it’s too soon. I don’t know if I can go to an event like that. It’ll bring too much emotions, but you’re actually at an event like that, and everybody there is dealing with some type of loss, whether they’ve tried their self or lost a family member. It’s actually a really good support group,” said Joseph Burke.

“I think just having that open conversation when you ask someone, hey, how are you doing? And they say, oh, I’m fine. What does fine really mean,” said Brittany Crumpler, the Pathways to Life COO.

The walk will be at Greenville Town Common in October, which was Tristan’s birth month. While you do not have to pay to walk, you can donate to suicide prevention when you register. If you would like to register, you can do so here.

Donations will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation uses the money for school resources, research for suicide prevention, and to offer support to those in need.