'Project Safe' working to erase the stigma behind suicide

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An eastern Iowa man who lost his son to suicide wants to help others during Suicide Prevention Week, which runs Sept. 8 to Sept. 14.

Mike Farr's son Garret died at the age of 17 after losing his battle with depression. (Courtesy Image)

Two years ago, Mike Farr's son Garret died at the age of 17 after losing his battle with depression.

Right away, Farr launched the nonprofit Project Safe. Farr talks to schools and events about the agencies which help people struggling with thoughts of suicide--resources he wished he knew about for his son.

Farr said Garrett was a typical teen, who loved making people laugh. His battle with depression started at 6 years old.

His parents took him to a psychiatrist, but Farr says he didn't know about all of the local agencies which work with teens.

Farr says one of his goals is erasing the stigma behind suicide.

"A person doesn't die of suicide. That's how they ended up, ending their life by suicide,” said Farr. “Depression is a disease and it's a disease that needs to recognize it's a disease like cancer or anything else out there. It's one of the leading killers not only to kids but older adults"

Project safe is holding a fundraiser on the Sept. 29 at Blue 42 in Cedar Rapids at 11 a.m. Proceeds will help the program stay up and running. There will be a smokeout, bags tournament and silent auction. Five scholarships will be given out in Garrett's honor.

Click here to learn more about Project Safe.

If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at call 1-800-273-8255. Your Life Iowa is also available by calling (855) 581-8111, texting (855) 895-8398, or using the online chat function at https://yourlifeiowa.org/.