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 Suicide Prevention Partners with First-Ever

Houston Jerk Fest to Drive Awareness and Save Lives

Cultural Festival Mobilizes Houston Families to Raise Money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during National Suicide Prevention Week

HOUSTON, Texas – On September 10, the first-ever Houston Jerk Fest will not only bring local families together for food and fun, but also raise money and awareness for mental health issues during National Suicide Prevention Week. The annual campaign is observed Sept. 5-11 and was created to reduce the stigma around suicide, share information about warning signs and encourage support and assistance for those who have considered or attempted suicide.

Wykisha McKinney, a local spokesperson for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be on hand at the Houston Jerk Fest to share her story and share ways that local residents can work together to create a culture that’s smart about mental health. McKinney lost her brother to suicide in 2004, and overwhelmed by grief, slipped into a depression, which almost resulted in her own suicide attempt. Relying on the support of her community, local organizations and her family she found solace and healing and now raises her voice on Capital Hill, volunteers as a crisis hotline volunteer, organizes awareness walks and more.

“Having experienced that kind of pain myself, I can’t be at peace knowing that others are hurting like that,” said McKinney. “More and more people are silently struggling with depression and other mental illnesses and more families are losing their loved ones to suicide.  Until they are strong enough to speak for themselves, I will do it for them.” 

The Houston Jerk Fest, benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will welcome thousands of food and music lovers to India House Houston for Jamaican food booths, a jerk cook-off competition, reggae and dancehall artists and arts and crafts. The international music line up includes Grammy-nominated recording artist Mr. Vegas along with Jaye Valentine, Romain Virgo, Sacryfyce, QQ & Loyal Flames, U Fyah, Famous Squad, Massive B Sound, DJ GT, Mikie Faith Sound, Sugar Notch Sound, DJ Stevie Swift, DJ Silent Killa and DJ Smithy.

General admission for the event is $20. Proceeds from the event will help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention continue its mission of making mental health a national priority, creating education and community programs and developing suicide prevention through research and advocacy.

For more information, visit and follow the festival via social media at and