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Shelby teen creates event to highlight suicide awareness

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Speakers, candlelight vigil lined up for Saturday evening

By Todd Martin

Tiandra Taylor said she hasn’t talked much about her father Fredrick Bolden’s suicide in March of 2010. She said she knows that’s not the right way to handle her pain.

“You can’t hold stuff in like I have been,” she said. “I never really talked about it – maybe five times.”

That’s why Taylor, a 17-year-old senior at Collins High School, has organized We Are Never Alone – a candlelight vigil and session for those who have been affected by suicide, to help them to know that there are others just like them, others they can contact for help.

The event is at 7 p.m. Saturday in the amphitheater at Clear Creek Park.

“I just want to reach out to other people and teenagers to let them know there is always someone to talk to,” she said. “This will be a beg step for me because I have not talked about it too much, especially to a big group like this.”

Taylor has lined up an impressive group of speakers to share their experiences with suicide and how help is available. Debbie Phillips, who’s son Rob Phillips tried to commit suicide several years ago, will be there, along with Cassandra Gray from the counseling group Creative Spirits, Rev. Charles Ashby from Clay Street Baptist and Gary Walls with the Suicide Prevention Program.

“I want to let people know that others are out there and want to help,” she said. “I’ve been through it, and others have come up to me to talk about how suicide has affected their lives, too. We need to let people know that they can talk to people and it’s helpful.”

Taylor said the idea for the event came from her experiences at school.

“I don’t think our counselors talk about it enough,” she said. “Bullying, depression, suicide – I don’t think we take it seriously enough. I know when they talk to the students, people are always talking or joking around. We [students] don’t take it seriously. So I wanted to put something together where people that want to learn and hear more about it can reach out for help.”

And Taylor said she isn’t just looking for a one-time event.

“It’s my hope that this can continue,” she said. “I want to keep this going. I’m trying to put together a walk and get some T-shirts for next year. I have bags that I’ve been putting together for this year with information and [suicide] bracelets for everyone.

“Suicide doesn’t just go away, it’s not something you can get better from. This is real, and its one hundred percent preventable but it still happens. I’m excited for the event because I think we can really help some people.”

 

Suicide awareness event

WHAT:“We Are Never Alone,” a candlelight vigil and opportunity for those affected by suicide to meet others and offer support.

WHEN:7 p.m., Saturday

WHERE:Clear Creek Park amphitheater

SPEAKERS:Organizer Tiandra Taylor, Creative Spirits’ Cassandra Gray, Rev. Charles Ashby, Debbie Phillips, Suicide Prevention Program organizer Gary Walls.