TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — City leaders say that in the past 20 years, Pima County has seen a 72% increase of suicides in children 12 to 17.
On Sept. 13, Mayor Regina Romero proclaimed the month of September to be National Suicide Awareness Month. Pima County Board of Supervisors encourages county residents to stand “Together for Mental Health.”
Mayor Romero wants to increase the understanding of mental illness and access mental health resources to reduce the occurrence of suicide in the community.
A local family from Vail who lost their 13-year-old son in 2020, shares their thoughts on what leaders can do to help the community.
“30 days for putting a light on a subject is just absolutely not enough and it’s not enough strictly because of the numbers that we are seeing,” said Christina Winner, Ethan Ardrey’s mom.
Christina thinks supporting local resources throughout the community every day each year can make that difference, especially in the lives of children the same age as her son Ethan.
“Being educated and having those tools I just feel are going to be life-changing, they are going to be able to save lives,” said Winner.,
Christina says some of this support has come from groups like NAMI- the National Alliance on Mental Illness and its chapter here in Tucson.
Together, the family and group are advocating for better education about watching our for others mental health struggles, so no one has to endure what Chrisitina and her family endured.
“I will do anything to make sure he keeps living because I just can’t let his life mean nothing. His good heart is going to live and be able to help other so I am definitely very proud of him, still very proud of him even now,” said Winner.
In Ethan’s memory, his family started their own project and non-profit a year after he died by painting rocks with positive, supportive messages.
Christina says people can in some way keep Ethan’s legacy alive. The rocks have already found their way throughout 26 different U.S. states. To get ahold of a rock in memory of Ethan, visit The Ethan Ardrey Project on Instagram @The_Ethan_Ardrey_Project
Beyond the art and even local government support, Christina says she wants to help people at least know how to have a conversation, if they ever need help.
“As awkward as it is, as hard as it is, as difficult as it is, is actually having that conversation. Every person is going to have their own road, they just have to know how to navigate that we the resources that they have,” said Winner.
NAMI Southern Arizona helps those impacted by mental illness and their loved ones. For more information on resources they provide, visit their website.
The suicide & crisis lifeline is available 24/7 by calling 988.
Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State’s newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This article is first published on Source link