Special to Iredell Free News

Each day, an average of 130 people die by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in North Carolina, and the third leading cause of death for ages 10-24.

Iredell County leaders understand that it doesn’t have to be this way. Suicide is preventable.

In conjunction with Suicide Awareness Month, United Way of Iredell County, Iredell-Statesville Schools and Partners Health Management will host a Suicide Prevention Town Hall on Tuesday, September 21, at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at South Iredell High School.

The event is open to the public. Students, parents and community members are invited to attend.

Susan Tolle, a volunteer with the American Suicide Foundation for Prevention, will be the keynote speaker.

The three organizations will also debut a multi-faceted youth suicide awareness and prevention campaign designed to inform, educate and provide resources to middle and high school students in Iredell County.

While there has always been a need for more awareness, COVID-19 has shed light on many areas related to student populations and has changed students’ daily lives, such as teaching, socialization and more isolation. The campaign includes a series of videos featuring individuals from the Iredell community who have been impacted by suicide.

Several other agencies, including Children’s Hope Alliance, The American Suicide Foundation for Prevention, Grace Baptist Church and others, will have booths available with resources and staff able to share information.

This event is made possible through the financial support of the COVID-19 Education Fund created by the United Way of Iredell County. This fund was designed to support students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic. One of the factors identified for potential investment was to support the education and awareness surrounding the mental health of students with the goal to decrease or eliminate the upward trend in student suicide attempts in Iredell County over the last several years.

COVIID-19 Protocols

Masks will be required for attendees. A livestreaming option will be available.

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