Mizzou alumni lost two friends to suicide before graduating. From the tragedies was born Project Wake Up
ST. LOUIS – One in five adults in America struggles with mental health. This means that we probably know someone who has a debilitating illness.
Alex Lindley and Danny Kerth lost two of their closest friends to Mizzou by suicide. Two shocking and eye-opening tragedies that led them to create real changes around mental health.
Lindley and Kerth were only 19 when their close friend Carolyn took her life.
“Believe it or not, two years later, another suicide, my best friend,” Lindley said. “He was 21 and had done two praises for two amazing people who died.”
That’s when Lindley knew she had to do something.
“He finished us all the last few years in a meeting to basically say that I have an idea to make a documentary about Ryan’s life in the hope that others will see it and know that they are not alone and that they love it,” he recalled. Kerth.
What really ignited the passion of these St. Louis natives was that their friend Ryan was trying to get help.
“He went into a hospital and was denied admission because he didn’t pass a suicide risk assessment they had then because they didn’t have enough beds and he didn’t adjust to the bill to get one of the limited spaces,” he explained Lindley. “He had left a few hours later. This will shoot everyone.”
From these tragedies Project Wake Up was born. His documentary with the story of Ryan and others across the country premiered in 2019.
“We wanted to keep in mind that mental illness is something that doesn’t discriminate,” Kerth said.
It’s been seven years since their first meeting on the Mizzou campus. They have held trivia nights, golf tournaments and virtual fundraisers raising tens of thousands of dollars for their documentary and a scholarship on Ryan’s behalf.
But these guys are just getting started.
“We hope a docuseria is something we can get our hands on someday,” Lindley said.
“The more people have access to mental health care, the better we will be as a society,” Kerth said.
For more information, visit the Project Wake Up website.