COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - According to New Horizon’s Behavioral Health, death by suicide is one of the top three causes of death for children in grade school across the state of Georgia.
The Muscogee County School District and New Horizons Mental Health are coming together to talk about new opportunities to address mental health, both inside and outside the classroom.
“Suicide is the number two leading cause of death for children in the state of Georgia ages 10 to 17. We need to talk about that,” says Susan Gallagher with New Horizons Behavioral Health.
She says they’re hoping to create conversations of courage.
“It’s very important because nowadays, children are being bullied in school. They have a lot of problems at home that they bring to school with them. So, problems like that need to be addressed,” says Muscogee County parent, Ray Webb.
Webb is one of the many parents who say the importance of mental health shouldn’t be taken lightly. New Horizons hopes events and conversations about mental health will work toward creating resources to help students in challenging learning environments.
At Monday’s school board meeting, Gallagher took to the school board in a continued partnership with the school district to speak on creating opportunities and resources for children and teens in the district.
“It’s to ensure that our children get educated and know that there are resources out there for them and health and assistance for them,” says Gallagher.
Some of the programs would help students who may deal with learning disabilities or problems with bullying. One Britt David student was in attendance at the meeting and says she’s seen the bullying firsthand at her school.
“They don’t want to, but they keep getting bothered and stuff,” says Kassidy Anderson.
Superintendent David Lewis says addressing mental health is a priority for the district and partnering organizations. He says the partnership with New Horizons will help students feel more comfortable in the classroom.
“Mental health is certainly an issue that is of great importance in our community and throughout the country. And having partners like them helping us with our students is certainly beneficial,” says Lewis.
“Our mission is to build better lives. Their mission is to educate children for the future, and I see that our two missions blend together,” says Gallagher.
Gallagher says there is an event scheduled for Oct. 21 to raise the conversation of suicide and mental health in students. . She personally invited the school board at Monday’s work session.