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Hundreds turn out for NAMIWalks event to raise awareness for mental health

Hundreds turn out for NAMIWalks event to raise awareness for mental health
Hundreds turn out for NAMIWalks event to raise awareness for mental health 02:03

MONROEVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) - Blue, sunny skies created the perfect conditions for a walk Sunday morning, and that's what 700 people did over in Monroeville to spread the word about mental health at an annual event.

The pain is still fresh for Diane Palm of Donora after losing her husband, Dan, more than 30 years ago.

"He was a good father, a working man," Diane said. "We didn't even realize at the time that he was depressed."

It's a moment she and her sister, Bobbi Fabean, will never forget.

"That was the worst day of my life when we found him," Fabean said.

His death left a major hole in their family and turned their lives upside down, but in the years since they've taken something positive from their experience and every year celebrate Dan's life at the annual NamiWalks.

This marked the 17th anniversary of the Keystone Pennsylvania chapter's 5K in Monroeville Community Park West.

CEO Christine Michaels said it helps families connect with others facing similar challenges with mental illness. The hope is to break the stigma surrounding it.

"You look through the crowd here, you don't know who has a mental health problem or not, so that's the idea, to normalize it," Michaels said.

In recent years, mental health has become more prevalent because of the pandemic. There's that much more awareness, unlike back in the day.

"I never saw any signs. I wish I would have," Diane said.

The resources weren't available for Diane and her family, but she is going to make sure others know treatment is out there and they're not alone.

"It's hard. You have to talk to other people. It's not just speaking to your family, it's going on the outside and talking to people that can help you," Diane said.

The funds raised will go towards running the organization throughout the year.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you can call or text 988 and will be directly connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The existing Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) remains available.

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