Charlotte woman offers free suicide awareness, prevention training as suicidal thoughts increase during pandemic

Suicide prevention and awareness training

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A new study released by the CDC shows more people have considered suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those higher rates included people between the ages of 18 and 24, minority racial groups and essential workers.

In that same study, it was revealed that elevated levels of mental health conditions, substance use, and suicidal ideation were reported by adults in the United States in June 2020.

“It feels like a bear has you in a grip," said Fonda Bryant.

Bryant knows what it’s like to have suicidal thoughts.

“I almost died by suicide," said Bryant. “Those thoughts started getting louder because I was alone every day by myself.”

But 25 years later, Bryant is in a much different headspace.

Not only did she get help for her then undiagnosed clinical depression, now she helps others get the help they need.

“I teach all races all genders all backgrounds all walks of life," said Bryant.

“People need to know this is a health crisis.”

Bryant teaches QPR training. It’s a certified course that teaches people how to identify the warning signs, for someone who might have suicidal thoughts.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools high schooler Sydney Lane has taken Bryant’s training.

“Sometimes as teenagers, we can doubt ourselves and not think that we have the ability to make as much of an impact as we actually can. But the training can truly save lives," said Lane.

WBTV’s Chandler Morgan took Bryant’s training.

Bryant emphasized just how important it is to check in with people, especially during the pandemic.

“When you’re alone with your thoughts, especially with a mental health issue, it can be very dangerous," said Bryant.

Bryant said those dangers are soaring due to the pandemic.

“Just a few weeks ago, there was a student on our school who died by suicide, and I think that just really affected everyone," said Lane.

Bryant worries about students isolated at home, especially as students learn remotely and might be more isolated than usual. That’s why she hopes parents and families will take the training together, to learn the warning signs of suicidal thoughts and how to seek help.

If you are interested in taking certified suicide awareness and prevention training, email Bryant at fondanc_40@yahoo.com.

If you feel like someone you care about or you are feeling hopeless, there is help just a phone call away.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

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