Kim Davis He broke the stigma with the Volkswagen Dune Buggy in 1966 on June 3rd. The show was held at Lake County Fairgrounds in honor of Corey Stewart, who died by suicide in April 2022. (Bryson Durst — The News-Herald).
Dozens of cars, trucks and other vehicles gathered at the June 3 car show to promote mental health and suicide prevention.
Josh Stewart hosted the inaugural Stigma Car Show at the Lake County Fair in honor of his 21-year-old son, Corey, who died by suicide in April 2022. Representatives from local mental health organizations attended the event, which raised funds for Lake County Associates of the National Coalition on Mental Illness.
Stewart was inspired to start the show by his and Corey’s passion for cars.
After his suicide and learning more about mental health and suicide prevention, I felt like there wasn’t a lot of talk publicly, he said.
“Instead of turning to alcohol and being upset about my son’s death, I thought I should take all that anger, sadness, confusion and do something positive, so I decided to do a car show because my son loves car shows. Stewart added. He’s a motorhead just like me.
The selection of vehicles ranged from classic cars to trucks, military vehicles and Paynesville City fire engines. There were awards in various categories including Best of Show, NAMI’s Choice and Veteran’s Choice.
Kim Davis brought his 1966 Volkswagen Dune Buggy to the event.
“They need to have more awareness and more things like this to have things like this,” Davis said. “Nobody needs to go that way.”
Shawn Hamrick from Niles has a 2019 Peterbilt “Remember All Armed” truck designed to honor service members.
“The first time I had to do something to kill myself, because my brothers killed themselves, that’s what I’m for,” he said. “Bring awareness, help people.”
The event included food trucks and various businesses and organizations entered the fair as vendors. Among these vendors are NAMI Lake County and Crossroads Health.
“The importance of an event like this is bringing mental health to the forefront, getting more people out and about what resources are available in their community,” said Crossroads Community Development Coordinator Scott Smith.
He noted that Crossroads offers services including counseling, dual diagnosis and group therapy, as well as primary care.
“Now we can see every patient,” Smith said. You are admitted to mental health services, and we can check your blood sugar.
He said people can reach Crossroads at crossroadshealth.org or 440-255-1700. According to the organization’s website, it operates locations in Mentor, Paynesville and Willoughby.
Joanna Mannon and Ashley Himes both came to represent NAMI Lake County. He noted that the organization offers support groups for people with mental health issues and their loved ones. It also offers advocacy, education programs and support for parents, among other services.
Mannon mentioned that all NAMI services are free.
“They always say it takes a village to raise a child,” Himes says. “It also takes a village to support adults and stuff, so we’re trying to be that village for people who don’t have a village or feel lonely.
More information is available at namilakecountyohio.org or by calling 440-639-1200.
The car show raised money through a $20 entry fee, Chinese auctions and raffle sales, Stewart said. About 80 cars have already been registered before the event.
In addition to raising awareness, they believe the event will save lives and teach visitors “what to look for in their own relatives.”
“It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to have someone to talk to, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Stewart added.
As of 2011 NAMI Lake County Crisis WebsiteThe Lake County Crisis Line can be reached anytime by calling 440-953-8255. A trained crisis counselor can be reached by calling NAMI at 741-741.
Make sure you use that, because they are licensed therapists, they are there to help you and make sure you get out of that dark place and back into the light.