By Kristin Bednarski
Nearly 200 students from schools across Clermont County gathered for the second annual Youth Summit for Suicide Prevention on Nov. 13.
The summit was hosted by The Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
Dr. Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said students were selected by school administrators to represent their school at the event.
Students from Amelia, Batavia, Bethel, Clermont Northeastern, Felicity, Glen Este, Goshen, Loveland, Milford and Williamsburg high schools attended the event as well as students from the Live Oaks Career Campus.
“We brought them all together to give us ideas on how to prevent teen suicide,” Watson said.
Watson said their goals are to receive feedback on what can be done to help teens who may be dealing with depression and also see if they know ways to get help.
She said they will take the information gathered at the summit, review it, and give feedback to school superintendents.
“Then they can come up with a plan to do something at schools,” Watson said.
During the summit, students were split into groups, and each group circled around a mental health representative to discuss answers to different questions.
“Each group was assigned questions,” Will Cates, with Child Focus, said.
He said students formulated responses to the questions, which included questions about signs of depression, bullying, ways to get help, mental health stigmas and more.
“The biggest one, to me, was, what stops kids from approaching adults?” Cates said. “The answer to that is so important.”
Cates said many teens won’t come to adults for help when they see warning signs of suicide or experience suicidal thoughts themselves. He said addressing that issue is a key to prevention.
Students also thought the summit was informative and helpful.
Felicia Mayes, a junior at Glen Este, said the summit opened her eyes to the prevalence of suicide.
“Statistics for suicide are overwhelming,” Mayes said.
She said she learned that raising awareness so people don’t have to hide their depression would help people who are struggling.
Courtney Romohr, a Live Oaks student, said she felt the summit was interesting and provided a lot of information.
“You get a lot of different views,” Romohr said about the discussions.
Brittani Glazier, a senior at Glen Este, said the summit made her more aware that there are many people struggling with depression.
She said she dealt with depression herself, and now knows it is not unusual.
“It makes you have more hope to know you can help someone with your experience,” Glazier said.
Glazier was also announced as the winner of the Logo Contest at the summit.
Her logo design featured a human eye with the acronym HOPE across it, which stands for Helping Open People’s Eyes.
“It’s awesome,” Glazier said about having her design selected. “It’s a great feeling to know I could win this. I want to be a graphic designer.”
The design was featured on T-shirts what were given to all the students who attended the summit.
For more information about the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board or the Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition, visit www.ccmhrb.org.