ELK GROVE -- Neighbors in Elk Grove are taking steps, both literally and figuratively, to prevent child suicide.
A nonprofit, JJ's Hello Foundation, hosted a walk Sunday to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.
The walk was held to honor 12-year-old JJ Anderson who took his own life in 2016.
Now, his parents are channeling their heartache, into a new mission.
“It’s in honor of all of our youth that we have lost,” said Michelle Anderson. “Our son JJ, he would have been 16 this year."
The Andersons say there were no warnings from their son.
“We are one of those parents who said, ‘not my child.’ But in the end game it was our child. It’s one of those things that no mother should ever have to go through,” Michelle said.
They are turning their pain into purpose. The Andersons walk to raise money and awareness.
Child suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It lets people know that you don’t have to be ashamed. Reducing the stigma is a big part of what we do,” stated Josh Anderson, JJ’s father.
JJ's Hello Foundation offered booths with mental health resources for the community like the suicide prevention hotline at Sunday’s event.
“It’s really important for people to have someone to talk to whether they are having thoughts of suicide or they just need somebody to hear them or listen to what’s going on in their life,” said Karissa Carpenter who is the Regional Outreach Coordinator For the Suicide Prevention Hotline with WellSpace Health.
The Andersons know their son’s life ended before it should have, it’s why their journey to help other families is just getting started.
“That was our heart, our love. Let’s fix this problem,” Michelle stated.
The money raised will go toward suicide prevention programs like awareness presentations and counseling.
If you’d like to donate, please click here.