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Allen officials schedule town hall amid mental health reckoning



ALLEN, TX – In response to a tragedy that devastated the community, Allen city officials will host a town hall event with LifePath Systems (also known as Collin County MHMR) at the Allen Senior Recreation Center.

The “An Afternoon of Healing” conference, slated to take place Saturday at 11 a.m., will be officiated by LifePath Systems counselors, who will give the community instruction on overcoming tragedy, recognizing mental illness and discussing the topic of mental health to young adults.

This event comes weeks after an April 3 murder-suicide in the 1500 block of Pine Bluff Drive by 19-year-old Farhan Towhid and 21-year-old Tanvir Towhid, two brothers who killed themselves and four other family members – including their 78-year-old grandmother Altafun Nessa, who was reportedly visiting from Bangladesh – as part of a suicide pact.

Police found the bodies of the victims and suspects on April 5 amid a welfare check, which was conducted after a family friend reported that one of the house’s occupants was suicidal. Farhan posted a lengthy suicide note on social media before the murder-suicide, which opened with, “Hey everyone. I killed my family,” and documented a checkered history of depression and self-harm. The note indicated a potential motive in the killing of Farhan’s family in a subsequent paragraph that read, “I love my family. I genuinely do. And that’s exactly why I decided to kill them. If I killed just myself, they would be miserable.”

The family’s death spurred a community-wide reckoning on mental health, with officials of the Islamic Association of Allen (the mosque where the family’s vigil was held) making the subject an area of focus amid its annual observance of Ramadan.

Community officials in local government also discussed mental health in addressing the murder-suicide.

Councilwoman Lauren Doherty said on social media, “My heart goes out to their family and friends. No matter what is going on in your life right now, it can get better and there are people who want to help.”

Doherty’s colleague, Councilman Chris Schulmeister, commented on the matter in an April 13 council meeting, where he said, “I would just like to offer up ongoing prayers for the Bangladeshi community here in the city of Allen as they continue to grieve what was a terrible tragedy.”

Mayor Ken Fulk responded to Schulmeister’s remarks in saying, “I was very surprised when we went to the vigil that evening that we had as many people from the Bangladeshi community in Allen.”