Too many people struggling with depression aren’t aware of the help that’s a phone call away, says one Wellington High School student dealing with the loss of a young family member.
Senior Rianna Rosecrans is raising funds for Project Safe: Cedar Rapids Corridor Area, a nonprofit started in memory of her cousin, Garrett Farr.
Farr, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, took his own life on Sept. 22 of last year, less than two months before his 18th birthday.
According to family members, the teen had struggled with depression since the age of six even though he didn’t deal with any known risk factors such as bullying.
Project Safe aims to provide a clear channel of information on where to find help.
A $40,000 fundraising goal for Project Safe will be put toward a sustainable college scholarship in Farr’s name. Rosecrans has raised nearly $400 so far on top of $13,000 raised in Cedar Rapids.
To make a donation, visit www.projectsafecr.org/#donate or call Daniel Rosecrans at 440-315-6340.
“I want to try and make it all more manageable,” said Rianna. “I didn’t even know about half of the hotlines that are out there, just about one or two. I want more families to know about it so they don’t have to go through what my uncle went through and what the McKinley family and the Byers family went through.”
Josh Byers, a junior at WHS, turned a gun on himself at the Wellington Reservoir on May 19, 2016, and died later that day.
Tyson McKinley, a WHS freshman, took his own life at home on Sept. 20, 2017.
Families and friends of the students reported bullying as a contributing factor in both tragedies.
While not wanting to lose track of the harmful effects of bullying, Rianna said she also wants to emphasize how easily depression can overcome an individual regardless of life’s situations and circumstances.
”Most teenagers that are suffering with depression don’t talk about it,” she said. “They try and keep it bottled up. For most teenagers, that makes it even worse. If you’re talking to someone and you feel like they’re depressed, don’t be rude to them and give them attitude. Be kind. Someone with depression can take a small negative comment as a reason to end it all. It can also happen to someone who on the outside seems like they have a perfect life.”
Project Safe was started in Cedar Rapids by Garrett’s father, Mike Farr, a 1983 Wellington High School graduate.
“We worked on trying to get Garrett’s medicine’s right and had it right many times,” he said. “This time, we just didn’t get it right fast enough for him. It happens to everyone out there. Depression is a disease and suicide is how the individual ends up dying. We want to erase the stigma that comes with depression and have people know options are available. I didn’t know about so many of these resources before losing Garrett, and I don’t want that to be what it takes for the next family to find out about them.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.