Festival honors a life lost while it seeks to save others

EAST MOLINE, III (KWQC) -- The second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24 years old is suicide. An East Moline family is using their own son's story to bring awareness to the struggles of mental health issues.

Every year around June, you can hear good music and find people gathered together at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds to have a good time for an important cause.

The festival called “AdamFest” isn't something you would associate with mental illness. Adam’s dad, George Smith organized this festival to bring the community together to talk about the growing epidemic of suicide.

“I hate to see any family go through what we've had to go through and still go through it every day,” said George Smith, Adam’s father.

It’s been six years since the family has been putting on the festival. In hopes to keep the memory of their son Adam alive.

“[Adam] had a severe bout of depression and anxiety attacks and took his own life. He was in and out of Robert Young three times,” said Smith.

The family has worked in collaboration with Robert Young Center through UnityPoint Health.

“We know that one in five adults at a given time is dealing with a mental health condition,” said Joe Lilly, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health at UnityPoint Health. “When you think about the size and scope of the Quad Cities with over four hundred thousand residents here. The need is tremendous and it's important that we have an outpatient, inpatient continuum of care that can provide services to those that need it,”

Services that aren't limited to adults. In 2018, the Robert Young Center received two grants to start a youth suicide and self-harm prevention and support group. The services help youth 10 to 15 years old and 16 to 18 years old. It is based on a referral process.

“Youth suicide is everyone's business and so it's a community effort to reduce the number of suicides in our community,” said Torri Smith, Qualified Mental Health Professional with Child and Adolescent Service at Robert Young Center.

Although the topic of suicide is one that still has a lot of stigma surrounding it. It’s events like AdamFest that can open a door to break the shame behind the disease.

“AdamFest is a great community event. which allows us to talk about the importance of mental health, but it also raises funding that supports local community mental health services, so that individuals seeking care can get that,” said Lilly.

“A resource that is needed in our community and we are excited about having this program and being able to offer a needed resource,” said Torri Smith.

Suicide, depression, and anxiety are just a few of the things Robert Young Center offers treatment for. If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That number is 1-800-273-8255.

AdamFest is this Saturday at 4200 Archer Drive, East Moline. There will be music, food, martial arts demonstrations, and 50/50 raffles. There is a $5 donation entry fee at the gate. Children under 12 years of age get in free.

Doors open at noon through 6:30 p.m.