Man runs across Minnesota for mental health

Julio Salazar has struggled with depression for most of his life but it was only a few years ago that he sought help.

He still encounters depression but “the difference between now and then is that I now have the ability to know how to deal with it. I understand what triggers it, what gets me out of it, and how to bounce back,” he writes.

This week he’s running across Minnesota to raise awareness of mental illness and the availability of that help. He’s starting in the western Minnesota town of Dawson this morning and he’s getting some help.

The Dassel-Cokato High School triathlon class is planning to join him later in the week. So are others.

He calls it his “Break the Stigma Run.”

About twenty years ago, while living in St Cloud, MN, I received a phone call from my parents. They told me that my beloved uncle Marcos had passed away two months earlier. They said that he had been driving drunk and his car had gone off a bridge, killing him instantly.

I was devastated by this news, and I was confused as to why my family had waited so long to tell me of my uncle’s passing. When I asked about that, they just said they hadn’t wanted to bother me with the news since I had just moved to the United States. I didn’t understand their logic, but I didn’t question them.

Twelve years later, my mom came to visit my family in the United States. As we were driving around the city one day discussing family and friends, she mentioned how tragic it was that my uncle Marcos had taken his own life all those years ago.

I gave my mom a stunned look, and she realized immediately that she had just revealed something that they had always tried to hide from me. I became angry and demanded to know why I hadn’t been told the truth about my uncle’s death. She said that my dad forbid the family to tell me the truth.

I know that he was trying to “soften” my devastation since I had been so close to Uncle Marcos. However, I also feel that they were trying to cover up the suicide because it was perceived as a family embarrassment.

He’ll end his trek in downtown Stillwater on Saturday.

Here’s the run’s Facebook page.