Governor Laura Kelly expressed condolences to the family and many friends of Eric Harkness, a longtime advocate for the mental health community in Kansas who died by suicide this past weekend.

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of Eric’s passing. He was a tireless advocate for the Kansas mental health community,” Kelly said. “He touched many lives with his unbridled passion for helping people who deal with mental illness every day access the help and support they need.

“Eric inspired us during Mental Health Advocacy Day at the Capitol and other activities as part of his unwavering commitment to educate and increase awareness about mental illness.”

Harkness, of Topeka, served on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas Board of Directors and as NAMI Kansas board president since 2013. His family and NAMI have requested that memorial donations be made to the Eric Harkness NAMI Kansas Scholarship Fund, as a way to enable others to participate in NAMI events.

Anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or (785) 841-2345.