Doctor travels across the country to bring awareness to mental illness

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MONROE, La, (KNOE) - Dr. Adel Korker is traveling to all fifty states, which is why it's called the 5-50-50 run/walk series.

He says right now, the mental illness needs help right now more than ever and this is one way to address it.

"I truly believe that we are in a crisis situation,” said Korker. “I don't think that we're near where we need to be."

Korker made the commitment to travel across the country to bring awareness to mental health illness.

"Louisiana is our 24th state,” said Korker. “We started this journey in Hawaii and then from there to Alaska and from there to Washington State and then we went cross and now where in the south."

It's a 5k run/walk for mental health awareness.

Korker says each race includes a discussion and this one was about the early signs of mental illness.

He says if it's addressed early it could prevent some bad situations.

"If you don't provide that early detection and care you will end up with kids who are now in high school and college who have serious mental health issues that could potentially lead to drug addiction and crime,” said Korker.

Sinia Alford says her son, Nathaniel, has autism which is why she ran.

"It brought me to tears to talk about it because I struggle with my son and trying to get the things that he needs," said Alford.

She fears any budget cuts may affect the future of mental health treatment and it scares her.

"Doctor Korker and I talked about needing the funding to give the administrators and the teachers tools to be able to learn how to help these children," said Alford.

But, Alford and her son say they' grateful for events like these to bring awareness to the situation.

"It's very enjoyable running because you usually get your mind off it," said Nathaniel.

They say they hope it'll bring change in the future.

Korker says their next stop is tomorrow in Jackson, Mississippi.