Neighbors gather at funeral home to remind others there’s help for holiday stress

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Some in the African American community are reaching out to neighbors as families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, because they say a joyful time can also bring a lot of pain.

People at the Serenity Memorial Chapel say they often see a surge in suicides, domestic violence and murders during the holiday season.

That's why neighborhood leaders are joining together, to remind folks that there is help to prevent seasonal stress from turning violent.

Volunteers are forming a holiday alert response team to identify mental health issues in the urban core that can lead to bloodshed.

Counselors at Truman Behavioral Health helped Teresa Perry a year ago at this time, after a close family member took his own life.

"It's very important to know that it worked," Perry said. "First and foremost my spirituality being where it is, having God in my life, that's the main thing. Knowing that there's different places out here that you can go as far as prevention."

Community intervention has helped others from ending up in the criminal justice system, living behind bars.

The United Way's 211 line offers help from professional social workers, and some have been referred to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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