By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – People in Bryan County will have the opportunity in August to not only take part in a benefit ride, but also to help raise awareness of something that has had an impact locally.
Cali’s Ride, with the hashtag #suicideisnotanoption, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Cali Guthrie was 21 years old when she ended her life. She graduated from Durant High School with the Class of 2014.
Her mother, Julie Brown, said she wants to make sure the topic of suicide is not an issue that is passed over or just brushed under the rug.
“My daughter passed away,” Brown said. “She committed suicide in August 2017. She had some issues with depression. They had just diagnosed her with a little bit of bipolar. And she had been out partying and drinking and trying different pills of this and that sort.
“We tried to get her help. They sent her to Wilson N. Jones for three days and they let her out. And within four days she had committed suicide.”
Brown said her problem with the situation is that not enough information about the subject is out.
“People do not talk about it,” Brown said. “People are afraid to speak about it when it happens to them. And I want to make this a very public forum wher people are not afraid to say, ‘Hey, my kid is struggling. My kid doesn’t want to be here. My kid is threatening suicide. What can I do?’
“So, I have made Cali’s Ride #suicideisnotanoption. We are going to be in conjunction with NAMI, which is National Alliance on Mental Illness out of Grayson. That is who the first year the money will be donated to. And what we are wanting is to bring a chapter into Bryan County.”
“They (NAMI) offer support groups for people who are actively going through using, depression, things like that. And they also offer classes and supports groups for family members of people who are using or are mentally ill or are threatening to commit suicide. So it gives you resources that you can go to and it doesn’t cost you to go to it.”
People can connect with NAMI online at nami.org and can create a free online account or can join the organization with a membership.
“I just know this is something I’m very passionate about,” Brown said. “I want it out there.
“I know Cali left behind a twin sister and six other brothers and sisters, whether they be blood or step or half or whichever. We’re a little lost and we’re struggling because we tried so hard to get her help and nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to say that there is a problem. They wanted to say that it is growing pains or a teenage thing or ‘She’s having a bad day.’ And I want to bring awareness to people that it’s not just a bad day and it needs to be talked about.”
The event will also include a fun run, bake sale, raffle and more. The entry fee for the ride is $20 per person and $10 for passengers.
For more information or how to register for Cali’s Ride, go to the Facebook page at Facebook.com/calisride.