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James Donaldson on Mental Health – Support Systems Can Help Teens Struggling with Mental Health Issues, Suicidal Thoughts

Teen PhotosJames Donaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of depression and suicidal thoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle


PLEASANT RIDGE, Ohio (WKRC) – A crisis team will be at Walnut Hills High School on Tuesday after an eighth-grader killed himself over the weekend.

He’s the second student at Walnut Hills to do so in two years. A large crowd gathered at 1000 Hands Park to pray for the boy’s family and offer support for his classmates.

“Getting people and the community to talk more about mental health is a huge step in improving mental health in the community,” said Maya Sivakumaran.

Sivakumaran is a student at Walnut Hills High School. She’s also a member of the Youth Council for Suicide Prevention.

The YCSP is made up of students from around the Tri-State and works with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and other organizations to provide support and resources for teens struggling with mental health issues.

“The main focus is to start that conversation, to be there for others, to start talking about our own experiences with mental health and how we can use that to help other people going through those things,” said Sivakumaran.

Sarah Shirey is also a member of YCSP and was at the vigil. Shirey says she joined the council after seeing a friend deal with mental health issues.

“The first instinct when people are having mental health issues is to hide them,” said Shirey. “So a lot of times, people aren’t aware of what’s going on unless the student or anyone speaks up, and a lot of times, it comes out of nowhere, which is very hard on anyone who is involved in it, which is very tragic.”

Some in the crowd question what they could have done to prevent the tragedy. The circumstances around the boy’s are unknown.

Cincinnati Country Day student, Manav Midha, says he talks with his friends constantly about how things are going and how they’re feeling and wishes more students would do the same.

“Everyone needs to share their stories,” said Midha. “We need to understand that and really use that fact to build connections with people so we can help each other.”

There’s a prayer service for the eighth-grader set for Tuesday night at 7:30 at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church. The visitation will be on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by the funeral until 1 p.m. at Crossroads in Oakley.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24/7. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or chat online.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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