Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between 10 and 34 years old.
There is an organization, called HeartSupport, working to connect young people to the help they need before it is too late.
HeartSupport was founded by the singer of heavy metal band August Burns Red.
“[Jake Luhrs] realized that a lot of the fans going to his show had scars on their arms, or a lot of them were suicidal or depressed. He realized they were going to his shows to escape something they were doing in their own lives. They were going to find hope and healing where they were at,” said John Williford, the Director of Development for HeartSupport.
Now, HeartSupport.com is a place where people with mental health issues can get help online through peer-to-peer support and live streams.
The nonprofit also reaches out to young people face-to-face at music festivals.
“We set up a tent and we talk to kids in the heat. We tell them they’re loved. There’s hope. They should be here tomorrow,” said Williford.
Gina Perkins and her husband, Kameron, are both fans of August Burns Red.
They found a community through HeartSupport that helped them deal with serious mental health issues.
Gina has bipolar disorder. Kameron, 21, struggled with depression and self-harm for years, starting when he was 10 years old.
“It’s hot outside right now. When you see young people with long sleeves on, that’s an indicator they want to hide. After hurting themselves, they’re ashamed and don’t want other people to know,” he said. “I’m hoping the take away for this is more people will notice and provide comfort for people that are struggling right now. Take the first step. Reach out to them. Love on that person as much as you can. Let them know how important they are.”
The Perkins now use their stories to help others.
“That’s usually how I feel connected to the world is when I help people. I think it’s important for people who are struggling with mental illness to feel connected to the world,” said Gina, 20 years old.
Demetrius Goines, 26, says its important for people battling depression to know they are not alone.
“It’s not always about someone giving you answers and lecturing you to fix your problems. It’s just knowing there are other people who struggle in this way. No matter what scene you’re in, what subculture you’re in, everybody struggles with these issues,” he said.
The Houston chapter of HeartSupport is holding a charity golf tournament to promote suicide awareness on October 21 at the Raveneaux Country Club. For more information, contact John Williford at email@example.com.
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