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Local Suicide Prevention Advocate Named 2017 Hero of Mental Health

Posted 10/24/2017

Local suicide prevention advocate Veronica Lewallen has been named the 2017 Hero of Mental Health.

Veronica Lewallen was living an everyday life until her son, Richard, died by suicide at age 19.  Everything changed for her that January 2014 day.  Among other things, Lewallen shifted her mission in life and is now a mental health and suicide awareness advocate and dedicated to carrying on her son’s passion for helping the homeless in our community. 

 “It’s truly an honor to receive this award on behalf of my late son, Richard.  I want to continue Richard’s legacy of reaching out to others and not judging them by their circumstances,” said Lewallen.  “I will never get over his death, but my changed outlook helped me to get through these difficult times.  I look forward to continuing mental health and suicide awareness and prevention.”

 Previous award winners include School Teacher Brittni Darras, Guy and Jane Bennett, suicide prevention advocates, Alan Pocock, the special education chair and Learning and Educating About Disabilities (LEAD) program coordinator at Cheyenne Mountain High School, Former Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, and former Fort Carson Commander Retired Maj. Gen. Mark Graham and his wife, Carol.

 In addition to honoring this year’s hero, the keynote speaker is Saturday Night Live Star Darrell Hammond.  Hammond is known for his Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Sean Connery impressions, among others.  Tragically, his upbringing and off-camera actions were instrumental in creating severe challenges in his life.  Hammond will detail his riveting story from his youth to his SNL days.

 Finally, proceeds from you will go directly to funding Mental Health First Aid, which allows non-clinical individuals in our community to receive an evidence-based, one-day training program that will help them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders in your community.  Schools, law enforcement, military and faith-based organizations have received this life-changing training. 

Visit www.AspenPointe.org/Heroesfor more details on the event, tickets and sponsorships.

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