‘Strike out the Stigma’ puts focus on suicide and mental health

A man who lost his son to suicide is now behind an effort to make sure other families don't go through the same pain.
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:27 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Mike Farr lost his son to suicide and now works to lessen the stigma around depression.

Wednesday afternoon was “Strike out the Stigma.” The event at Prairie High School featured a baseball game between Prairie vs Western Dubuque and a softball game between Prairie and Iowa City West. It also gave local agencies and organizations a place to share information on suicide prevention and awareness.

“September 22, 2017, I lost my son Garrett Ronald Farr to depression, and he died by suicide,” said Farr. “Five weeks later I started my 501(c)(3) for suicide awareness and education, and it’s been my mission ever since to continue out there, trying to save lives.”

Farr said promoting local resources was important to him because he wasn’t aware of them during his son’s depression. “I wasn’t aware of Foundation 2. Foundation 2 is one of the largest operations in the state. But I wasn’t aware when Garrett was alive, but I found out about them after he died, and they have a lot of great services.”

People need to be able to talk about these topics, ask questions, and know the signs someone needs help, said Farr. “Watching the signs of a child or someone getting very giddy and happy if they’ve been deeply depressed. Because that means they’ve made a decision on harming themselves and how they’re going to do it. When and where. So be aware of that and don’t take it as I did, ‘Hey, the meds are finally kicking in’... Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and talk about it and make sure that you can find the right help.”

Farr said, “Children, hug your parents more often. I know you don’t want to, but they could use it. And remember how much your parents love you and care for you.”

The nonprofit Farr started is Project Safe CRCA.

The crisis line for Foundation 2 is 319-362-2174.

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