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Here’s how you can be a part of 2023 suicide prevention efforts in Dawson County
We Care 09152023
On Friday, Sept. 15, DCSO employees and locals gather with U.S. Army veteran and IGY6 Coffee owner Chris Sheets, who’s joining efforts for Dawson County’s ongoing “We Care” suicide prevention and mental health awareness campaign. Sheets runs IGY6 Coffee in large part to educate others about mental health conditions that veterans and first responders face. - photo by Julia Hansen

Dawson County, known for having one of the highest per-capita suicide rates in Georgia, has already recorded eight lives lost to suicide in 2023–eight too many. 

The ongoing “We Care” campaign seeks to change that by connecting people in crisis with the mental health resources they need. 

This story continues below.


  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call 9-8-8; text TALK to 838255 or start a chat at The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached by dialing 988 and pressing 1. 

  • Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL): 1-800-715-4225; text and chat through the My GCAL app, available on Google Play and in the App Store

  • Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741 or start a chat via WhatsApp

  • The Trevor Project (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386; text START to 678678 or start a chat at

Dawson County Schools event

What: Informative session on suicide prevention and awareness

When: Monday, Sept. 25 starting at 6 p.m.

Where: Professional Development Center; 30 Main Street in Dawsonville

For more details, contact Dr. Janice Darnell at

Friday morning, local businesses IGY6 Coffee and Trey Thomas-Farmers Insurance Agency met in front of the coffee truck’s 3 Ga. 9 South location to kick off “We Care” outreach efforts during Suicide Prevention Month.

The campaign is a multi-faceted effort by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, Dawson County Schools and other community partners. 

The “We Care” campaign was started last year to help support the wider community by sharing mental health resources like the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 9-8-8 is a three-digit number people can call when they or someone they are concerned about is experiencing suicidal thoughts, substance use or any other type of mental distress, according to the lifeline’s website. 

IGY6 Coffee owner Chris Sheets explained that his business name harkens back to “;IGY6” to bring more awareness to not only PTSD, but also suicide awareness and prevention for military and first responders. 

“‘We Care’ is a big deal to me because I had a good friend in the military who [died by] suicide, and I miss him dearly every day,” Sheets said. “So when I decided to do coffee, this is what I decided to do. And it’s an honor to be able to work with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, the county and Trey Thomas with Farmers Insurance.”  

Thomas, a neighboring business owner and friend of Sheets, said he was ready to help with such an effort, expressing concern over the high number of suicides in Dawson County and in the military.

“It’s not acceptable,” Thomas said.

“As we get into the holiday season, we want to make sure that people who are maybe experiencing a mental health crisis and need some help can reach out to 988 and [know that] as a community, we care about them,” said DCSO Lt. Johnny Holtzclaw, later adding, “We’d much rather talk to them before a crisis happens instead of having to talk to the family after the crisis.” 

A “We Care” sign was placed in front of IGY6 Coffee Friday. Several more signs will be placed around Dawsonville’s downtown square area in the coming days. Dawson County High School's FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) has partnered with DCSO to make and donate "We Care" signs. 

“I don’t think any one of us hasn’t been touched by suicide in some way, fashion or form,” Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson said Friday. “We want our community to know that if you’re hurting and you’re in pain and you need someone to talk to…give someone a call, talk to someone and get the help that [you] need.”

In a follow-up email, Johnson later expressed gratitude for Lt. Holtzclaw’s continued advocacy for suicide and mental health awareness. 

“He obviously has a passion for others which he demonstrates daily through his actions,” Johnson said of Holtzclaw. “I am proud of Johnny for his continued efforts to bring attention to this epidemic.”

“We stress to our community, please seek help,” Johnson added. “No problem is too great that you cannot ask.”