Lowndes Co. to help raise awareness for suicide prevention

Lowndes Co. to help raise awareness for suicide prevention

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) -The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health.

On Wednesday night, a community-wide event will be held to raise awareness on suicide and help provide support to the community.

“Unnoticed is an event that is meant to inspire people in the community to have hope, health and strength in their lives. Recognizing that people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know to be a physical health crisis is also a mental health crisis,” said Sandra Wilcher, director of student support services for Lowndes Schools.

The school district joined forces with Park Avenue United Methodist Church, Valdosta City Schools and others to put together this event.

Wilcher said their goal is to remove some of the mental health stigma.

“Children owning the stress of their families. Families not certain where their financial needs will be met in the future. Oftentimes, things that we are going through in life may be distracted from that to some degree by participating in extracurricular activities, spending time with one another,” said Wilcher.

Wilcher said when you take those things away from each other, like what the pandemic has caused, people will often focus more on what’s going wrong.

The event is for people to know there are ways to get help and empower one another.

Wilcher and other health officials will be speaking on the matter.

Participants will also hear stories of hope, one being the miracle story of Kevin Hines, who attempted to take his life in 2000.

“I attempted to take my life in a way that is 98 percent fatal, I jumped off the golden gate bridge. But it was an instance take regret for my actions, in the water as I felt to stay afloat, a sea lion came to my aid and kept me afloat until the coast guard would arrive behind me. I had a 10-and-a-half-hour surgery to replaced my shattered back with metal,” said Hines.

Hines said he just missed severing his spinal cord by two millimeters.

He said he’s blessed to be alive today.

Hines, along with his wife, are traveling and sharing his message across the world.

”We are trying to reach people who are in a world of pain and let them know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That suicide does not have to be the option, it is the problem in fact and that their lives are valued that they worthy and they do matter and we want to show them not just tell them. We want to show them that they matter by opening up this event for them say ‘come one, come all and let’s have a conversation about hope and healing and recovery,’” said Hines.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Click here to watch the livestream.

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