Jackson County Students Take On Depression & Suicide

More people on the coast are deciding the only way to deal with the problems of life is through causing their own death. In 2001, there were 61 suicides on the coast. That's an increase of 20 percent from the year before. Mental health professionals believe the reason for the increase is depression. A group of Jackson County students are trying to help young people avoid the pit falls of depression. They've produced a public service announcement as part of the WLOX campaign "Your Future, Your Choice" that deals with the topic. The St. Martin High students say they all have plenty of friends, but when they made the P.S.A. on teen depression, they were able to put themselves in the shoes of people who have no one to turn to.

Senior Kim Walker said "I hope that when people look at this they'll understand that young kids now days go through problems like any other person so they wouldn't just take ours as a minor factor."

"We feel the need to help those that feel left out," said Richard Hawthorne."We don't want them to go do something drastic."

Something drastic could include suicide. The students say pressures from home and school can seem overwhelming. That's why they're encouraging their peers to reach out to one another before it's too late.

Justin Holland "If you see somebody's got a problem, you don't just shrug them off," said Justin Holland. "That is your problem because it's happening at your school. Something bad could happen nobody talked to that certain kid."

The "Your Future, Your Choice" campaign lets the students decide what subjects to promote. Some educators say that's a good idea because teenagers know best what other teens are going through.

English teacher Vadis Perkins said "Students know how other students feel and I think that they can even pick up on it much better than other people can."

The students hope the project will remind people that no one in need of a helping hand should go overlooked.

by Danielle Thomas