Party for a Purpose prompts conversation on mental health issues
COLUMBIA — Party For A Purpose mixed the socialization of a party with conversation on mental health and suicide prevention.
The event, held Saturday, aimed to benefit Project Wake Up, a group seeking to break the stigma of talking openly about issues surrounding suicide and mental illness.
The event included live music, a raffle and lots of conversation.
The group originally started raising money to fund a full-length documentary to highlight the reality of suicide. Project Wake Up reached their $200,000 goal earlier this month.
But the board of directors for the organization said it didn’t want to stop there.
Future donations to Project Wake Up will be used to fund scholarships for graduate students studying psychology.
"It’s a good major to be able to better understand what’s going on mentally," board member Jack Meyerhoff said.
Another member on Project Wake Up’s board of directors, Claudia Rudelic said it all goes back to conversation; The environment of Logboat Brewing Company made Saturday’s location work for the beneficiary in a unique way.
"When you can normalize it and you can discuss it openly with your friends and your peers and your family it makes it a lot less stigmatized," Rudelic said.
She also said people struggling with mental illness hold their feelings in, but there are ways to help.
"When you talk about it more and a little bit more freely they feel more accepted," Rudelic said.
Before the board members started Project Wake Up, they were just a group of friends grieving over their friend Ryan Candice’s suicide in 2014.
"I feel like it is my duty for the rest of my life to honor him," Rudelic said. "And hopefully to save at least one other person’s life because I couldn’t save his."