TOPEKA (KSNT) – Valeo Health Care of Topeka held a benefit for mental health Saturday evening at the Townsite Towers in downtown Topeka.

“My message tonight is about being thankful for these people for what they do, communication and being there for one another, so we can stop the more than 48,000 suicides that occur in this country each year. A lot of this stems from mental illness, about being a burden to family and friends and the stigma of mental illnes, where you can take off this mask and talk to people about what has been going on in your life.” Kevin Briggs, a former California Highway Patrol officer.

The event was held to help uncover the stigma of mental health in the Topeka Community. The featured speaker for the evening event was Kevin Briggs, a former California Highway Patrol officer.

” When a person thinks about mental health problems, mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, I think we are in a great place here in Topeka, we have great services here in town that together make up a great public safety net.” Bill Persinger, CEO Valeo Behavorial Health .

During the event Andrew Brown, Commissioner of Behavioral Health Services at Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services was given the Hope and Humanitarian award and Wes Cole and Brian Cole of Junction City, were given the Mental Health Warrior Awards.

Live music was provided by the local rock band Delta Haze, Curtis Sneden with Smart Magic provided magical entertainment and there was a silent and live auction throughout the evening.