By Laura Smith, Executive Director
At our recent Be the Change Leadership conference, I witnessed firsthand the impact of this type of event. A young boy in 8th grade who was attending the event to hone his leadership skills decided to attend the Live It Up! Don’t Give It Up! Suicide Prevention session. Later that night, he later revealed to his dad that when the teen facilitators leading the session shared the symptoms of depression, he could recognize most of the symptoms in himself. Not only did he recognize that he was experiencing signs of depression, he then asked his parents to help him get an appointment to see a counselor.
After learning more about the boy, I now understand that the parents had been encouraging him to go speak with the school counselor, but he hadn’t wanted to go. He felt someone might make fun of him. His parents were so relieved when he asked on his own to go talk with someone. This young man had his first counseling session last week all because of one experience in a session at this conference.