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‘Our children need help’: Iredell-Statesville Schools host Suicide Prevention Town Hall

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Suicide is the third leading cause of death in North Carolina for people between 10 and 24 years old.

Statesville parent Ginger Finley is sounding the alarm on the fact that the pandemic may be putting children further at risk for suicide.

Her 18-year-old son Houston died by suicide in February of 2021.

At that time he was the fourth student in Iredell-Statesville Schools to take his life since the pandemic had begun.

District leaders are working to educate school staff, teachers, parents and students on what to look out for, by holding a Suicide Prevention Town Hall, which took place Tuesday evening at South Iredell High School.

Finley says she did not see it coming when her son took his own life.

“He loved to learn,” she said. “He was a sponge always. He loved doing hands-on things.”

What she did not know was how hard disappointments brought by the pandemic were hitting him.

“Being isolated,” she said. “The volume of work was tremendous. It was too much in my opinion. He was spending 14 to 16 hours a day on the computer. He quit the cross-country team to focus on his grades.”

She wishes her son could have seen past the stress and into his future, and she still wants that for other children.

Iredell-Statesville Schools are now creating videos, giving students a platform to share their stories.

“We need to encourage children to express themselves and talk about things that are hard for them or giving them depression or anxiety,” Dr. Boen Nutting with Iredell-Statesville Schools told WBTV.

Several other agencies including Children’s Hope Alliance, The American Suicide Foundation for Prevention, Grace Baptist Church and others will have booths available with resources and staff at the town hall.

Finley hopes her son’s death will not be in vain.

“There’s a building on fire, and our children are in that building, and I’m standing next to that fire alarm and sounding the alarm,” she said. “I’m telling you, our children need help.”

The town hall was also streamed on the district’s Facebook page.

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