The fourth annual Journey of Hope event proudly features local author Jay Asher and his bestselling book “Thirteen Reasons Why” about a teenage girl who explains her choices after dying by suicide. Asher will discuss the book and its impact on thousands of young people, along with the critical importance of seeking help and support when dealing with contemplating suicide or mental health issues. 
Journey of Hope, an inspiring and educational mental wellness forum, will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at New Life Church in Pismo Beach, CA. This is a free event, open to the public.
Asher’s young-adult novel spent 2 1/2 years on the New York Times bestseller list. Since 2007, the book has been published in over 30 foreign countries, has won several awards, and is being made into a film by Universal. A graduate of San Luis Obispo High School, Asher lives with his family in San Luis Obispo and will be available for book signings before and after the main program.
“Thirteen Reasons Why” is the story of Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who died by suicide. She reveals thirteen reasons for her decision in a series of audio tapes mailed to a classmate with instructions to pass them on to students in the style of a chain letter. Through Hannah’s recorded voice, her classmates learn the reasons why Hannah decides to take her own life.
The forum will be facilitated by Wendy Thies Sell, freelance writer and columnist for the Santa Maria Sun. Sell is a three-time Emmy award winner and two-time Mark Twain award recipient from her years anchoring and reporting the news at KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo. 
A screening of Our Personal Journeys: Mental Health Awareness on Campus will also take place. This short documentary was created by the Cal Poly University Week of Welcome awareness committee in collaboration with Transitions-Mental Health Association in 2011. The video, aimed at college-age youth, discusses topics such as stress and the seriousness of depression and suicide.
The forum will include a local resources and mental health services fair. Attendees seeking services and/or information for themselves or someone else are welcome to visit with representatives from over 30 local agencies and county departments. 
Continuing education units will be offered through San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Services and Central Coast Psychological Association. 
Central Coast Sign Language will have an interpreter at the event.
Food trucks will be onsite before the event from 4-6 p.m. including: KunFusion on Wheels and Tio Alberto’s. 
Journey of Hope is hosted by Transitions-Mental Health Association’s Family Services and Peer Advisory & Advocacy Team. This event is co-sponsored by Friday Night Live of SLO County and is funded by the Mental Health Services Act through San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health Services. For more information about this event, visit