MT HOLLY SPRINGS, Pa. — There are different ways people are doing their part to try and erase the stigma of mental health.
One story involves two men in central Pennsylvania teaming up to take action in two different ways.
“This is my way to put more boots on the ground. Have a facility where we can have a resource center," said Milton Dennis, the founder of Cal's Hope.
Cal’s Hope is a new resource center in Mt. Holly Springs, Cumberland County. Dennis recently opened the facility to provide support groups and a space for survivors of loss to tell their stories of loss and hope.
Cal’s Hope provides for people in need and is that voice that someone may not have.
“When I started talking about suicide loss and sharing my story, I saw what it meant to other people. I was told, at one time, 'Don’t stop telling your story [because] what you said the other day saved my life,'" Dennis told FOX43.
This place holds a lot of meaning for Dennis. He and his family suffered not one, but multiple losses.
Having Cal’s Hope on a sign and providing a resource center to the community means more than words can explain for the founder.
“I can pay some tribute to the life I never had with my father. I can pay some tribute to the life that I did not have or continue with my brother and to have them still be part of this," said Dennis. "So many components of myself and them live on, live into the lives of others, and help educate others. It’s unimaginable.”
And having that sign actually brings Dennis and central Pennsylvania Legends driver Richie Dobson together.
Dennis contacted Dobson’s place of work to design a sign. The two connected and shared their stories and now team up to spread the word around the midstate.
“The comfort level to speak to someone that fully understands exactly what you’re going through is like no other. I always say it’s an unfortunate thing to have in common but at the same time, it’s a blessing in disguise," Dobson told FOX43.
This is his fifth consecutive year racing for suicide awareness after losing his father 27 years ago.
“I don’t want someone to go through what we go through," said Dobson.
He wants to be the reason to save another life, and last year, seeing the trailer on the highway helped one life.
“There was a lady following our trailer. We were on our way to race at Clinton County. She messaged our racing page and said she loved the trailer, and we met her for the first time at the Harrisburg Out of the Darkness walk. She told us she was going to take her life [but] turned around and went home because she saw the trailer," Dobson recalled.
It didn’t even take a conversation. Just seeing the wrap on the trailer helped.
Their message is that it’s okay to not be okay. It's a message people need to hear.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 8 million people will die from mental health reasons. It's a terrifying statistic Dennis and Dobson are trying to erase.
You can find more information on Cal's Hope and Dobson Racing for Suicide Awareness by clicking the attached links. If you or someone else is need of help, they can call the suicide prevention hotline by dialing 988.