Celebration of Hope held in Huntsville to raise awareness of mental health, suicide

WAAY 31 was at the church where more than 200 kids gathered to learn how to cope with bullying, suicide and loss.

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 5:58 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2019 10:53 PM

A Celebration of Hope was held on Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Huntsville.

It comes just days after the suicide of a Huntsville teen.

WAAY 31 was at the church where more than 200 kids gathered to learn how to cope with bullying, suicide and loss. Seven outreach organizations are spreading one common message, 'If you need help, the community is here for you.'

One Madison County High School student told WAAY 31 bullying in school is not out of the norm, "Bullying has played a role in high school. I think it's played a role in middle school and elementary as well. It's just a way of stopping it is what we really need to focus on," said student Kayla Thompson.

One Lee High School student, Lauren Edwards, said she knows events that raise awareness of bullying, suicide and death are all too important to the community, "Cause it can. It can save somebody's life," said Edwards. 

According to an event organizer, this is important because this is a growing issue, "Suicide is on the rise for ages 14 to 24," said Candy Burnett, who is the President of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

At the Celebration of Hope, multiple advocates, like the Huntsville Hospital Foundation's SPEAK program, are raising awareness of mental health and suicide.

A member of Girls Inc. told WAAY 31 it's important for teens to be able to express themselves without fear of judgment.

"I can tell you that it is definitely something that needs to be talked about, so it provided them with a safe space where they could hear good information, as well as share anything they wanted to in reference to this," said Michelle Pruitt, a member of Girls Inc.

Pruitt has seen the difference Girls Inc. has made and says teens need to know about all the resources available to them.

It's something Edwards says the school system doesn't have.

"We don't learn about this stuff in school. They don't have anything like this in schools," said Edwards.

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