Webcorians Show up to Support AFSP’s Suicide Prevention & Awareness Efforts

San Diego-based Webcorians joined AFSP's Community Walk at Liberty Station in support of the organization's suicide prevention efforts.

November 10, 2023


After losing a family friend to suicide last year, Project Accountant Jaimie Houk found herself grappling with the emotional aftermath of suffering such a shocking and devastating loss. In an effort to cope and make some sense of the tragedy, she began researching resources on suicide prevention and awareness. She soon discovered the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), a voluntary health organization offering those impacted by suicide “a nationwide community empowered by research, education, and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death."

Last summer, she approached her fellow Community Engagement Committee members about sponsoring AFSP’s “Out of the Darkness” Community Walk in San Diego using Webcor’s allocated community dollars, which was unanimously approved by all members. On Oct. 21, a few of her fellow San Diego-based Webcorians joined her for the 5k Community Walk in San Diego’s famous Liberty Station, which included opening/closing ceremonies and various festival activities.

“Coming together with the community for such an important cause was a wonderful feeling,” Jaimie says. “Many participants held up photos of loved ones lost to suicide. Knowing that I was surrounded by people who have also been affected by suicide in some way was quite impactful.”

Among those people was Project Director Matt Johnson, who was compelled to join the AFSP Community Walk as someone who not only wanted to join their Webcor colleague in supporting a vital cause but has also personally experienced the devastation of suicide.

“Earlier this year, the son of one of our family friends took his own life, which was heartbreaking for my family and me,” Matt says. “Listening to so many emotional speeches from AFSP participants who had also lost loved ones to suicide was an unforgettable experience.

“I think we’re all aware of the mental health crisis pervading our country and its impact on the construction community especially,” he continues. “Webcor’s safety values don’t stop at the job site gate—they extend to all aspects of everyone’s mental well-being. AFSP’s mission statement aligns well with Webcor’s community and safety values.”

Although mental health resources are critical, they’re often inaccessible, Jaimie points out. Associated costs and the stigma surrounding suicide are just some of the common barriers facing those who need these support tools the most.

“Suicide is often viewed as the easy way out—painless, cowardly, selfish, vengeful, rash, etc.,” she explains. “It’s so important that we continue to educate Webcorians on suicide prevention, offer educational resources, and reinforce that we work for a company that cares about them and embraces open conversations about this somewhat taboo topic.”

The money participating Webcorians raised will help fund education materials, teen mental health education programs in local high schools, trainings for volunteers reaching out to elected officials about suicide prevention policies, trainings for facilitators of support groups for those who have lost loved ones to suicide, youth suicide prevention outreach and programming, and overall mental health awareness.