In a tragic tale, an alligator roaming around a dog park in Florida mauled a service dog on May 17, 2019 & its distraught owner killed himself the very next day. The incident occurred Friday evening at Dog Leg Park at Buffalo Creek. Java, a chocolate colored lab, was a service dog for Andrew, who suffered from mental illness. Java’s tragic death impacted Epp so much that he killed himself on Saturday. Andrew Gabriel Epp was a gentle, beautiful soul. He loved the outdoors, fishing, camping, horticulture and animals. Unfortunately, Andrew also struggled with mental health issues and after a lifelong battle, took his own life in the early morning on May 18, 2019. He was 36 years old. May is Mental Health Awareness month. The night before he passed, Andrew’s family were begging local facilities to admit him. They were turned away and told that, because he wasn’t vocalizing that he wanted to hurt himself, the earliest he could even see a doctor was August 2019. The thing is, often those considering suicide don’t vocalize their plans. And they can be turned away in the moments that help is most needed. This is not the Epp's families’ first experience with profound grief. In October of 1980, Andrew’s older sister Lauren passed away at the age of five from a brain tumor. In March of 2005, Andrew’s older brother Paul also took his own life after years of struggling with his mental health. And just six months ago, in December of 2018, Andrew’s father passed away after a long battle with physical and mental health challenges.
Andrew’s family’s hope is that no one with mental health issues would ever be turned away when they or their families are seeking care. #youarenotalone #depression #iamthechange #bethevoice #suicide #anxiety #alcohol #drugs #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #loneliness #stress #mentalillness #substanceabuse #support #love #socialisolation #mentalhealth #bullying #socialmedia #relationshipproblems #ptsd #unemployment #addiction #molested #dakota #seekhelp #itsoknottobeok #florida