CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The recent deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and famed chef Anthony Bourdain have shocked many, but it's pushed others in our community to talk about suicide and make sure those in our area who are struggling to get the help they need.
An old-school cowboy is what Jody Barrilleaux remembers about her dad.
But when her father died by suicide years ago it was hard for her to understand.
"There were no signs for my daddy, and my story in particular," she said. "Not a sign."
In the process of her handling her pain, she was able to meet Amy Johnson—a mother whose son died by suicide- and together the two created HALOS which stands for Healing After Loved One's Suicide.
But with the passing of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain all in the same week, she knows their deaths have created an opportunity.
"It is real," said Barrilleaux. "It is what happens sometimes, but we want our area to know that we're here."
And it's not just HALOS that's here to help, but also the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI.
Executive Director Lolita Ceaser works to help those with mental illnesses that are struggling with depression and suicide, but those topics hit close to home for her too.
"My son tried to attempt suicide many years ago, and I can relate and it's hard," she said.
She hopes others will reach out and see the warning signs to help those who really need it.
"Normal people go through depression so if you think somebody may harm themselves, and they've given up on life I would make a phone call," said Ceaser.
And while Barilleaux will never stop missing her father, she knows losing him has allowed her to help others.
"There was a little piece in this world that I can touch others with, and that's what I want to do, and I want to tell dad it's okay we got this on this side," she said.
HALOS hosts a support group in Sulphur and one in Lake Charles.
They meet every first Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Hampton Inn on Henning Drive in Sulphur. The group in Lake Charles meets at the Christus Lake Area Medical Hospital in the Ben Mount board meeting room on Nelson Road at 6:00 p.m. every third Wednesday of the month.
You can find the group on Facebook, HERE.
For information on NAMI, click HERE.
You can also reach out and call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.