A Westerville church is working to put a stop to teen suicides following the second such death in the Westerville City School District this year.
Central College Presbyterian Church says it wants to provide both comfort and raise awareness in the midst of this most recent loss.
"Our students have been greatly affected,” says Pastor Joel Esala, a pastor on staff at the church. “We're wanting to provide a safe space. It's worthy of being sad about so let's grieve that together."
It is the type of grief one Galloway family knows all too well.
"Every time I hear that something like this happens, my heart just breaks,” said Joy Robinson.
Joy and Garry Robinson lost their daughter Brittany to suicide in May 2011.
"I found her hanging on the back of the door,” Joy said. "She had hung herself with her hair straightener."
The Robinsons say Brittany had shown signs of depression in the weeks prior to her suicide, but they thought it was typical teenage behavior.
"We had no knowledge of suicide. We didn't have that in our family. We had no knowledge of depression,” Joy said.
The Robinsons now lead a support group and take their story into schools to get the word out about suicide.
Raising awareness is exactly what Central College Presbyterian wants to achieve by hosting a suicide awareness and prevention workshop.
"We're hoping that by the end of it, both students and their parents feel like they're better equipped with resources to handle 'what do I do if something is happening in my life or a friend's life’,” Esala said.
The Robinsons say they hope the workshop will save others from their pain.
"We need to reach out to the community. We need to reach out to the parents. We need to let the parents know the signs of suicide,” Joy Robinson said.
The suicide awareness and prevention workshop will be taking place Sunday, March 30 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Central College Presbyterian Church. It will be facilitated by licensed counselors. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.
The church is located at 975 S. Sunbury Rd. Westerville, OH 43081. You can reach the church at 614-882-2347 for more information.
Persons who are considering suicide generally display symptoms of depression. These signs may include but not be limited to the following:
◦Sudden radical changes in mood, particularly depression
◦Increasingly self-deprecating remarks
◦Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
◦Increased use of alcohol or drugs
◦Giving away of cherished items
◦Serious withdrawal from activities and significant persons
◦Persistent discussions of death
◦Self-destructive or high risk behavior
◦Previous attempts of suicide
◦Identification with someone who has committed suicide
◦Statements of a desire to explore or complete suicide
(SOURCE: Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation)