Hundreds raise awareness about suicide prevention

Hundreds raise awareness about suicide prevention

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Hundreds of people, including cast members from NBC's "Bluff City Law," gathered at the Memphis Botanic Garden on Saturday to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

They participated in the Out of the Darkness Memphis Mid-South Walk.

Organizer Tonia Howell says money from the walk helps the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is working to reduce suicides by 20 percent by 2025.

"There is a lot of encouragement here today because everybody is looking to support each other," said Howell. "The money that we raise from the walk today will be used to support education opportunities as well as we offer support groups in the Memphis area."

Oscar Carr knows what it's like to be touched by suicide.

"I've lost both my uncle and my father to suicide," said Carr.

Losing two family members caused him to change careers, from lawyer to counselor, to try to prevent others from going down the same dark road.

"When I was young and my uncle died by suicide, it was not nearly as open and talked about mental health and getting better, so this is incredible to see how far it's come," said Carr.

But there's still a long way to go.

A new study published Monday in the Journal of Pediatrics found suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teens, after accidents.

The study also found suicide attempts by black children rose over the last three decades, even though it fell among other groups.

Among those walking for awareness on Saturday was the cast of NBC's "Bluff City Law."

Leading lady Caitlin McGee says she too has been personally affected.

McGee was a teacher in New York and said one of her former students took his own life.

"He was so young, I mean he was still a teenager," said McGee.

McGee and others at the walk said it’s important for those struggling to remember help is out there.

"The more that we talk about it and come together as a community, the more that people don't feel alone," said McGee. "That is the most important thing because you never know what battle someone is struggling with."

If you or a loved one is struggling, help is just a phone call away.

Free and confidential emotional support is available by calling 1-800-273-TALK.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.