This past Tuesday night, our Team participated in a Teenage Suicide Awareness Forum at Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston. This forum was a part of Mental Health Awareness Month at the school as we presented information from our Team’s “Step Up & Step Out” Suicide Awareness and Prevention Initiative.

Our participation came about at the request of my granddaughter Chase Jones, a Senior at Fort Dorchester, who with Samantha Walser, a Junior from Myrtle Beach, and Dawson Reindollar, also a Senior at Fort Dorchester came together to be proactive in helping other young people who consider taking their lives. All three of these teenagers are fire department “kids” so it was special for us to help them with this presentation. Listening to them share their thoughts brought a new perspective to the issue of teen suicide and we intend to do all we can to help them spread this information. It is important to say here that Chase, Samantha, and Dawson have all lost friends and/or classmates to suicide in the last four years, so they were speaking from their hearts.

We would like to thank Sherie Corbett, one of our Team Clinicians, Ms. Meredith Coen and Ms. Mary Gonzales of the Fort Dorchester Guidance Department, Mr. Rob Cottingham of the SC Department of Mental Health’s Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, and our friends from the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Centers for their participation as well.

As we move into 2019, our Team will strive to continue to improve our program to advance this initiative for our other young people in our community and in our emergency services families. We plan to schedule other forums in the New Year so let us know if you are interested in having it one in your community.