Light the Trail’ covers chasm between need and mental health resources

During the holiday season, Fort Worth Report journalists commemorate their favorite stories from 2022. Click here to read more articles.

Over the past three months I have enjoyed working as the organization’s ‘Multimedia/Video Fellow’ on the Fort Worth Report. During this time, I worked on fascinating stories, met wonderful people, and learned more about the field of journalism than I could ever have learned by sitting in lectures.

While I’m really proud of every story I’ve written this year, “‘Light the Ways’ bridges the gap between needs and mental health resources” is my favourite.

“Light the Trail” is the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation’s event to cycle suicide prevention and depression awareness. The 2022 edition was the foundation’s second iteration of the journey, after 2017 was an “absolute success”.

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From October 1-15, the Fort Worth-based foundation spearheaded the 1,800-mile journey from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico.

(Drawing | Alexis Allison)

The best part of this story is that I had the opportunity to chat with Tom Harris and Isaac Manning, who both work in their spare time in Dallas, Fort Worth, and indeed the entire country, to spread suicide prevention tips and raise depression awareness. The effects are truly enormous.

For Harris, co-founder of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, his impact is personal. After losing his daughter, Jordan Elizabeth Harris, to suicide in 2012, Harris struggles hard to “erase the stamp” and bring the conversation about mental health and suicide to light.

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Harris and Manning are raising awareness wherever they go by cycling to a place and wearing their Light the Trail cycling gear.

During the journey in 2022, Harris shared that people on the route wondered what the cyclists were up to, and after learning about the journey’s mission, they began to share their own personal stories of depression and suicide.

Harris said this has caused a “snowball effect” in conversations about mental health, and ultimately Harris and Manning said the 2022 edition of the journey was a “huge success”.

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This story also connects with the recent news of health reporter Alexis Allison, who had a talk with David Umanzor, program coordinator of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, about how to keep guns and medicines in your home from someone considering suicide.

Matthew Sgroi is a reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at [email protected] In the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial backers. Read more about our editorial independence policy Here.

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