LIVIN Foundation Aims to Bring New Awareness to Mental Health
ELK RIVER -- On January 21st, 2013, Paul Thomas Hohag received a phone call he never expected. His father Tom was dead, a victim of suicide.
After grappling with unknowns and struggling with depression in the wake of losing his father, Hohag decided he was focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on his father's death, Hohag decided to embrace how his father lived.
The LIVIN Foundation is dedicated in memory of Hohag's father. Its mission is to bring awareness to mental illness. Hohag says it's something that needs to change in our culture. He says mental health issues need to start being treated like any other serious ailment.
"We as a culture need to look at that [the people suffering], and say hey look, they're going through a rough patch, or something is mal-adjusted in their brain. We need to be able to support that person and what they're going through [like in any other serious condition]."
The LIVIN Foundation aims to do this by making sure the issue is no longer hidden. Hohag says there needs to be attention brought to it, and it needs to be out in the open. He intends for his foundation to be a rallying point for people dealing with mental illness.
"It's almost like the pink of breast cancer. You go to a breast cancer walk or event -- there's nothing happy about breast cancer -- it's a horrible thing. But somehow people tend to come together, and there's this common bond or sense of community wrapped around the color pink. I want to create that same thing with LIVIN."
To help them in that goal, Saturday they're holding the first "Get Busy LIVIN Music Festival" in Elk River. Country music star Craig Morgan will be the headliner for the festival. He's there along with seven other acts. They'll also have a BBQ competition and several family activities.
All proceeds from the Get Busy LIVIN Music Festival will be used to create Camp #LIVIN, which will be a retreat for families who've been affected by suicide. Hohag says they'd like to start those retreats next year.
Every 12 minutes, someone takes their own life in America, that's 121 people a day, and over 40,000 a year. More than three different cancers, and heart attacks.