Town approves suicide awareness event Aug. 10

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 0 Comments

Volunteering most of her time in Miami Lakes for years, Emily Wong wanted to honor her best friend, Victor Ruiz, who committed suicide last year, while bringing awareness to mental health issues that cause people to take their own lives.
But Wong never discussed her emotional pain including a bout with depression and ended her own life as well.
Following the apparent suicides that shook up the town, Miami Lakes is pushing forward with Wong’s movement in hopes of saving lives as the Miami Lakes Veterans Committee is organizing a suicide awareness event which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday, August 10, at the Mary Collins Community Center, 15151 N.W. 82 Avenue.
The committee’s chairman, Nayib Hassan, said Miami Lakes should be ground zero for suicide prevention since mental health issues affect everyone in town.
“We are losing individuals everyday to suicide,” he said last week during a Miami Lakes Town Council special meeting. “By bringing awareness, we may be able to save at least one person from suicide. We need to bring awareness to suicide in the community as a whole.”
The family members and friends of Wong and Ruiz urged council members to honor their memories with an annual suicide awareness event.
“I couldn’t help my son because he didn’t give me any signals,” said Ruiz’s father. “I couldn’t help him.”
Wong’s father said he’s passionate about being part of the event because he wants to save lives.
“We will continue to fight suicide and save lives,” he said.
Miami Lakes resident Marcus Gutierrez said Ruiz and Wong are true heroes and thanked the town for honoring their memory by raising suicide awareness.
“Emily is to be commended,” he said. “I’m very proud to live in a community where the council is open to doing this and watching all the kids get involved to break that stigma.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss.
Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. People are urged to call 911 immediately if a loved one or friend is suffering from a mental illness and contemplating suicide.
Council member Luis Collazo, who’s co-sponsoring the suicide prevention event with Mayor Manny Cid, said Emily approached him for his support for the event. “And I will support it for a very long time,” said Collazo, a mental health specialist. “Emily’s work is working.”
Collazo said when he first got elected to political office, he received an email that a young man committed suicide. “It was something that hit home to me because of my profession,” he said. “You choose a profession not for the glamour but you chose it to make an impact on people.”
Cid said Emily came to see him about a month ago to honor her best friend.
“We’re committed to make this a movement to help save lives,” he said.
Vice Mayor Nelson Rodriguez has some advice for anyone who’s experiencing any mental health issues. “Please talk to someone about your pain,” he said.
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