MOUNT TRASHMORE — Katie and Justin Copeland were together during the Hampton Roads Morning of Hope, Help and Healing at Mount Trashmore. With the help of a volunteer, they learned to fold paper cranes, a symbol of hope.
The Morning of Hope, organized by the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Support Group, Inc., brought thousands of people to the park on Saturday, Sept. 9, for a morning of solidarity and fellowship. It is a new event, but it evolved from the Out of the Darkness Community Walks that were held here in years past.
The Morning of Hope aims to end the stigma of depression and suicide in the Hampton Roads community. It was the first time the Copelands were at such an event.
Katie Copeland, 25, finished her crane first. Justin Copeland, 27, went next. They met in middle school, fell in love, married, had a daughter. They are best friends, too.
“I have bipolar disorder, panic disorder,” Katie Copeland said, adding that she also deals with depression. In June, she said, she attempted suicide, but she’s getting help now.
The hospital referred here to a team at Pembroke Six that has helped her see that mental illness is just that, is an illness. That it is something natural. Something you treat.
Justin Copeland was by her side this morning in the park. They showed their arms.
“We’ve got the tattoos to show you can overcome,” Katie Copeland said. “You’ve got to find things to live for.”
The tattoos are cranes, but the cranes are made from different colors.
“He said, ‘I’ll get the yellow one to support you,” Katie Copeland said. “Mine was survivor, purple and blue, and yellow is support.”
Justin Copeland’s yellow crane was taken directly from the logo on a flyer for the Morning of Hope. He said he got it to show her he was there for her. No matter what.
“I just like seeing everyone,” Justin Copeland said about the Morning of Hope.
“Solidarity,” Katie Copeland said.
“We’ll be going to all of these,” Justin Copeland said.
Katie Copeland showed the paper crane she had made.
“It was hard,” she said.
“It didn’t look like a crane until the end,” Justin Copeland said.
“He’s making one, too,” Katie Copeland said, laughing. “I’m forcing him.”
“I didn’t think I had the skills to do it,” Justin Copeland said.
“I didn’t think I had the skills,” Katie Copeland said.
But she held her crane. She had help from a volunteer, Kelley Howard-Young of Portsmouth, who has helped many people with this. She’s volunteered for years to help raise awareness about depression.
And she guided Justin Copeland through the process of folding his crane, explaining the many folds along the way.
“We’re just learning,” Katie Copeland said.
She saw the work in progress.
“He’s good,” Katie Copeland said.
“He’s got good creases,” Howard-Young said.
“All right,” Justin Copeland said, working intently to make his crane.
“Lay him flat,” Howard-Young said. “You bring the fox’s nose up to his ears.”
It did not look like a crane then.The folds so far made the shape of a fox head. It would take more folds to make it change into the crane. Justin Copeland made those folds.
“There you go,” Howard-Young said.
Justin Copeland looked at it. He criticized one of the wings he had made.
“It’s one of the nicest first ones I’ve seen,” Howard-Young said.
He finished the bird’s head.
“Do I have to pinch it?” he asked.
“Crease it,” Katie Copeland offered.
And then there was another crane.
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