YORK, Pa. — After some unimaginable losses, two families set out to give hope to those suffering in silence, though their stories began in tragedy.
“We lost my fifteen-year-old daughter to suicide,” said Matt Dorgan, co-founder of Building Bridges for Brianna. Her foundation began shortly after her death in 2020.
“My son Trent, he killed himself,” said Bruce Bartz, founder of Bartz Brigade the Trent Bartz Foundation. Trent’s foundation was started following his death in 2015.
Though beginning with heartbreak and unanswered questions as to why, both tragedies soon inspired these parents’ life work.
“I don’t want any parent to ever feel how I felt,” Bartz said.
Volunteers for Bartz Brigade and Building Bridges for Brianna joined other groups at WellSpan Park in York and spoke with guests during mental health awareness month.
“Let’s have fun, but still talk about mental health, where mental health is the priority but also having fun. We see these events evolve and adding new ones like tonight at York Revolution, we’re doing it, we’re having fun and people are still talking about mental health,” Dorgan told FOX43.
All to break the silence surrounding mental health. A sentiment both families believe played a role in their children’s decisions to end their lives.
“Just because you have struggled with anxiety and depression doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong and the best thing to do is talk about it…struggling with mental health doesn’t mean you’re weak, talking about it means you’re strong,” Bartz remarked.
Likewise, Dorgan also told Fox43 that “It’s okay not to be okay, we just can’t stay that way.”
Guests learned about mental health resources available in their community after receiving information packets upon entering the stadium. Families presented opening remarks before the first pitches. The park also planned a special memorial service after the game honoring everyone impacted by mental health with symbolic glowsticks.
Mental Health Awareness Month will continue throughput May.