On World Mental Health Day, several groups teamed up for the Linked4Life event at Dunkin' Donuts Park. More than 11,000 carabiners were linked together to break the record for longest chain and to symbolize being linked together and being there for one another.
"The carabiner is a symbol of strength and support in the rock-climbing community, so we felt it was a great visual reminder," said Rachel Papke, the director of communications and events for The Jordan Porco Foundation.
The goal of the event was to spark a conversation and break the stigma around mental health.
"It's really important for people to know that they're not alone and that it's also ok if you don't feel ok but please reach out for help," said Papke.
Participants said a focus on mental health and the idea of being together, even when we can't be physically together, is crucial during a year that has been difficult for so many. A recent report by the CDC found that adults in the US experienced "considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.
"Over the past six months as we have been physically disconnected and physically isolated, in such unprecedented and profound ways to send such a message that we are linked together, that we have to support one another that we have to stay emotionally connected," said Hartford mayor Luke Bronin.
That's what artist Corey Pane wanted to portray in his painting that he worked on for the event.
"Just like have people's hands linked together just like show the real message of what they're trying to say here today," he said.
"Whatever they're going through I think people should always have someone to reach out to so I just wanted to symbolize that," said Pane.
"It really does take a village to make a difference and to normalize this conversation so it's just really great to see everybody coming together this way, supporting each other," said Papke.