Judi Mori knows the pain of depression, having battled it herself over the years. She also knows it runs in her family, including in her nephew, Anthony Mori, a musician who committed suicide in 2014 at the age of 33.
She had always tried to get him through the dark patches in his life, she said. And now her help is for others: Mori, 52, a Plymouth resident and pharmacy technician, recently took part in the 19th annual Samaritans 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention in Brighton. She’s done that since 2015.
“Anthony would always call me when he was feeling down and needed to vent,” she said. “He had been at my house the night before he did it, and I knew he was anxious, but things were starting to go his way.”
Mori said someone else she loved committed suicide in 2012. (cq) “But I didn’t know anything about the Samaritans” then, she said. “When Anthony passed two years later, someone sent me a link about the walk, but I couldn’t do it. But a couple of my cousins did.”
She joined the walk the following year with her team, called Anthony’s Avengers. They’ve raised several thousand dollars through the event, as well as various other fund-raisers, such as a paint party, bake sale, and raffles. They’ve also received donations from Plymouth businesses.
But the most important thing raised, Mori said, is awareness.
“The message is listen, just listen. Let them know you’re there,” she said. “A lot of times people pass off the way they talk as having a bad day. You can’t do that. Listen. Ask questions. Let them know there are resources out there.”
She knew her nephew very well, she said, joking that as he got older they were more like brother and sister than aunt and nephew, but that “I always was sure to let him know I was the aunt.”
As for the Samaritans event, she said “it is just amazing.
“It may sound like a somber day, but it’s uplifting,” she said. “Everyone’s there for the same reason: celebrating our loved ones’ lives and getting the word out, lifting the stigma, and talking about suicide.”Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.