Family and friends remember a man who smiled through his troubles

LEESVILLE – On Saturday, family and friends gathered at the Leesville United Methodist cemetery to honor the memory of a person that no one could ever forget.

During the early morning hours of July 25, 2020, Robert “Bobby” Booker, took his life. He was 31 years old. Although Bobby’s death was not easy to talk about, his family and friends who loved him, wanted some good to come out of his passing.

Bobby Booker

With May being “Mental Health Awareness Month” the opportunity to share Bobby’s death is important to his family and friends. It was time to highlight the importance of addressing mental health issues and to seek out help.

“Watch your loved ones, cause it happens faster than what you think,” said Lee Booker, Bobby’s father.

Bobby, who always had a long beard and had an infectious smile, would help anyone in need. His radiating smile hid his hurts and troubles. Troubles that no one knew about. .

Kristy Guthrie talks about Robert ” Bobby” Booker Saturday

“He was always there for me when I was facing a difficult time, Bobby was the person there to help me through it,” said Kristy Guthrie, Bobby’s cousin. “I grabbed him by his beard and said I got this, I would tell him to respect your elders and you could see him wilt like a little child. He did not care about himself, but cared about everyone else,” said Guthrie.

Many co-workers and his older sister Kristian Brummett shared their experiences with Bobby in their attempt to cope with the loss of someone they all loved.

“I was his big sister, and I miss my brother dearly, it has been a difficult time for me, but I want his death to be used to help someone that is struggling and to persuade them to call out for help,” said Kristian Brummett, Booker’s sister.

Booker left behind two children, Leland and Peggy, his father Lee, and sisters Kristian Brummett, and Mindy Ryan. Bobby’s mother Peggy Arnold died approximately a month prior to his death on June 20, 2020.

Kristian Brummett organized this event for family and friends to come together and reflect on Bobby’s passing and to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Amber Kelley from “Darkness into Light Suicide” awareness and mental health support group attended Saturday’s event.

May is the time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral issues and to help reduce the stigma associated with the issues.

  • Stigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of your mental illness. Discrimination is when someone treats you in a negative way because of your mental illness.
  • Social stigma and discrimination can make mental health problems worse and stop a person from getting the help they need.
  • Avoid stigmatizing people with mental illness by seeing the person first and not labeling them by their mental illness.
  • You can help challenge stigma by speaking up when you hear people around you make negative or wrong comments about mental illness.

For men, it is even more difficult to seek out help because of the stigma’s associated in this issue.

Here are some statistics for Mental Health Month:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.

The most important point is for those experiencing feelings that are overwhelming is to seek help from others. There are a variety of health care providers that are able to provide the help that is needed for those experiencing mental health issues.

Saturday, family members released balloons that help add comfort and support to those that needed a hug or word of encouragement for those that attended.

Be Well Indiana can provide resources for those that are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or alone. The COVID-19 crisis has affected many. Call 211 to speak with a trained counselor 24/7.