ANN ARBOR, Mich. – While the stigma around mental health is starting to subside across the U.S., there is still a desperate need for more resources.
One Ann Arbor family, who lost their son to suicide, wants to prevent others from going through the same thing.
“We never could have imagined this type of loss happening to Garrett and our family,” Scott Halpert said.
“It’s the most devastating thing that can ever happen to a parent,” Julie Halpert said. “With suicide, you have all these feelings of guilt. ‘What could I have done differently?’ They haunt me to this day. I try not to dwell on them, but it’s like a part of your heart is just ripped out.”
Julie and Scott Halpert’s son Garret died by suicide in 2017.
“He was smart, funny. He was one of the top tennis players in our state. At the same time, he struggled like so many other young adults are doing these days,” Scott Halpert said. “He felt like he was inadequate, even though he really wasn’t.”
The family said despite Garrett’s own mental health struggles, the 23-year-old was passionate about helping others.
“We were at Garrett’s grave site and we were both trying to think how could we make a difference,” Julie Halpert said. “How could we make meaning out of our loss? And we both, at the same time, thought there needs to be a holistic center.”
They hope to open a residential space in Washtenaw County for young adults struggling with mental health. On Sept. 3, they will be raising money through a livestream fundraiser called Go 24 for Garrett’s Space.
The event will showcase stories of triumph and loss, and connect people with mental health resources.
“We went through this horrible tragedy and we didn’t want to see other others going through it, so we just want to continue the work that Garrett was doing when he was here: reaching out and helping others,” Scott Halpert said. “If we can prevent another family or families from going through what we went through, it will all be worth it.”
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