Event hopes to help Mid-South teens cope with mental health issues

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The lack of mental health services in America is something many agree is a major problem. For two Mid-South mental health professionals, they started an event Sunday specifically for teens in hopes to start a movement helping our youth.

In a small room at the Bobby Lanier Farm Park in Germantown, teens and their parents listened to speakers all with important messages.

A recovering addict shared his story--a warning about how a life can be crippled by drugs.

"My last night of active addiction, I sat with a pistol in my hand. Actually, I sat with a pistol in my mouth," recovering addict Tim Helton said.

Another speaker was a professional therapist who has personally dealt with his father committing suicide.

"Suicide is seen as an escape by somebody that's in pain. When you think of it that way, it's a lot easier to try to help that person," Oscar Carr said.

With topics like drugs, depression, bullying, and more, the inaugural Youth Rally for Mental Health attempted to help teenagers and parents start discussion about difficult topics.

Lou Martin and Debbie Coy-Wheeler, who both work in mental health, organized the event.

"What we wanted to do is bring attention so that some of the adolescents and teens could see some young adults who have struggled and made it through to the other side," Coy-Wheeler said.

"Mentoring them and trying to figure out how I can do it without all the peer pressure," Martin said.

The modest attendance of the event doesn't bother Lou and Debbie. They said it's a success if they help one teenager.

"We were not big on the numbers, it was not how many people we get here today. It was who needed to be here, who needed to hear this," Martin said.

The plan is to grow the event in years to come and hopefully save young lives.

"Hopefully with education we can prevent some of these kids, adolescents, teens from going down this path and seeing so many deaths in our community," Coy-Wheeler said.

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