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Parents host second annual event for mental health awareness

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.— ABC57 began sharing Michelle Ellenberger’s story after she tried to take her own life by blowing up her home in Granger a few years ago. After she lost her life to a mental illness shortly after, her parents are trying to make a difference in mental health awareness.

On Saturday, July 28th the second annual Out of the Shadows Walk will be hosted at Battell Park in Mishawaka. “We can’t help Michelle anymore – but if we can help other people make the right connections – get on the right medicines,” said Michelle’s mom Kay Green.

Green advises parents whose children also fight a mental illness to always value the time spent together as a family. “I would give anything for five more minutes,” Green said.

Michelle battled her mental illness for more than a decade, and her parents say that there are limited resources for help in St. Joseph County. “I don’t know about other counties, but in St. Joe, it’s very hard to get help.” Green attributes the difficulties to a limited number of doctors and facilities.

Because Green knows first-hand how difficult it is to find help in the area, the Out of the Shadows walk will spread awareness – but also be full of resources for people struggling with a mental illness. “We’re hoping to get rid of the shadow, you don’t have to hide anymore, she said.

With Saturday’s event, Michelle’s parents hope to bring others the resources they need for their next steps. “As long as we stay in the shadows and keep it a whisper. Nothing is going to be done.”

There will be free t-shirts and hot dogs following the walk. Green encourages everyone in the community to support the walk. She says the bigger the turnout, the better. One day, the parents hope this event reaches people nationally. “We have to let them know we need help, and we expect help,” Green insisted.

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