Laura Dizon remembers her brother, Aaron, as someone who was kind and generous; a musician and a friend to musicians. But what Laura and her family never knew is why he would take his own life.
“I think if he felt comfortable talking to people, maybe he would still be here today,” said Dizon. Four years after he died, Dizon – a photographer, and Dr. Lisa Herman – a therapist have worked together to plan “Shout Out Loud!” an event to raise awareness for suicide prevention. September is National Suicide Awareness Month.
The event takes place on Sept. 15 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. at Copperwing Distillery in St. Louis Park. Proceeds will be split between the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI MN) and Canvas Health, two non-profits who have made it part of their mission to offer suicide prevention programs to thousands of Minnesotans.
Dizon said that It took a while to feel comfortable talking about the death of her only sibling in the last year or so.
“I feel so good telling my story because it’s making a difference,” she said.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in Minnesota jumped 40.6 percent over 18 years, compared to the national rate of 13.4 percent. Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates in Minnesota increased across age, sex and racial groups.
“We’ve only put it together over the last three months,” Herman said. “We’ve raised about $10,000 already. We have amazing sponsors and raffle prizes, and [many] local bands.”
This event will be family-friendly with food trucks, a photo booth by Dizon’s Tiny Acorn Portraits, drinks, and kid-friendly activities for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the raffle and other door prizes, there will be community resources that offer support to all who might need it.
“It’s been humbling,” said Dizon of putting the event together. “There’s been such an amazing outpouring of love and community. It shows how much people care.”