On Sunday, March 26, 2023, the first annual Poppy’s Run For Life will take place at Hennessy Park in Houston, with a mission to honor loved ones who have died by suicide, raise funds for suicide-prevention programs, and spread awareness about suicide-prevention and mental-health resources.
Suicide rates remain high in the US, with approximately one death occurring every 11 minutes. LGBTQ youth are especially at risk. In 2022, The Trevor Project and Newport Academy, a network of teen-focused mental-health centers, published research revealing that 45 percent of LGBTQ youth considered suicide, 50 percent of LGBTQ teenagers (ages 13–17) considered suicide, and 18 percent of this demographic attempted suicide—double the rate of all US teenagers. The data shared that, overall, LGBTQ youth are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide and experience serious mental-health challenges, when compared with their heterosexual peers.
Poppy’s Run for Life founder and director Caryn Honig, whose grandfather and father both died by suicide, is determined to help those who are struggling with mental-health challenges. “We need to crush the stigma associated with mental-health problems. People need to know that there is help out there, and that they don’t need to be afraid to talk about it. We must openly discuss suicide and assist people who are struggling—as well as those who are affected by suicide,” says Honig. “To everyone who has stepped up to help in this mission of saving lives, I cannot thank you enough.”
Proceeds from Poppy’s Run for Life will be donated to the Montrose Center and to Alexander JFS Houston. “My father was passionate about equality and acceptance,” Honig emphasizes, “and he would be so proud that we are raising money for both the Montrose Center and Alexander JFS. He supported both organizations, as do I.”
If you’ve lost a loved one by suicide, the race organizers invite you to write the name of the person you’re running or walking in memory of on your race bib.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
About the Montrose Center: “The Montrose Center empowers our community—primarily lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their families—to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. We envision a healthier society marked by permanent, positive changes in attitudes and behaviors toward the LGBTQ communities, and the ability of all LGBTQ individuals to realize their fullest potential. Suicide prevention is at the heart of our work, as we help our clients take pride in who they are and empower them to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. We weave suicide prevention, education, and awareness into our clinical work, 24-hour crisis interventions, as well as the services we provide to LGBTQ youth and seniors.”
About Alexander JFS: “The Mission of Joan and Stanford Alexander Jewish Family Service is to transform lives by empowering individuals, families and communities—driven by compassion, leading through innovation, guided by Jewish values. We are committed to seeking systemic solutions to the challenges our clients face through evidence-based solutions that are scalable and replicable. We live our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our staff, clients and the communities we serve. Alexander JFS strives to prevent deaths by suicide by offering education, conversation and support in a confidential and respectful manner, implementing evidence-based programs to assure the highest quality care.”
What: Poppy’s Run for Life 5K Run/Walk to increase awareness around suicide and suicide prevention.
When: March 26, 2023, at 7:30 a.m.
Where: Hennessy Park, 1900 Lyons Ave.