WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — On Thursday night, several groups in Forsyth County partnered together to hold a community conversation focused on suicide education and prevention.
The event, held at Carver High School, featured a variety of mental health professionals who were able to provide resources to those in need.
Andy Hagler is the Executive Director of Mental Health Association in Forsyth County. He said the meeting is a way to raise awareness of the issue while also bringing people resources they might not know of.
“It’s really a way to educate. It’s a way to dispel the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide, and also resources here for people to get help all in one place," Hagler said.
During the event, two videos were played. Each demonstrated the effects of suicide from a family and community perspective. Hagler said it's important to realize that mental health is a community issue.
“We also need to understand that mental health, mental illness, suicide affects everybody," Hagler said. "It doesn’t matter about your gender, gender identity, your race, ethnicity, however you identify. It cuts across the board and affects everybody.”
Jackie Copeland is the Regional Director of Community Operations for Partners Health Management. After receiving an influx of mental health and suicide related calls, he said Partners knew they needed to address the issue.
“We want people to know where they can get help at and help family members of loved ones get them to that help," Copeland said. "So our goal is to try to put the word out as wide as we can so that folks can be aware of that and where to turn to when they need help.”
According to the CDC, in North Carolina, suicide is the third leading cause of death for those ages 10-24. Organizations across the Triad are hoping conversations like this one will help reduce that number and keep people of all ages from taking their own life.
Thursday's conversation was held in partnership with Partners Health Management, Mental Health Association in Forsyth County, Forsyth County Behavioral Health Services and Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.