Huntsville group, SPEAK, works to start conversations about suicide

Updated: Sep. 11, 2019 at 6:19 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - SPEAK is a group working with North Alabama students to start conversations about how to prevent suicides.

SPEAK trains student ambassadors to raise awareness about suicide in Madison County Schools, Madison City Schools and Huntsville City Schools.

“9/10 times a child will tell one of their peers if they’re having suicidal thoughts but they won’t tell a grownup,” said SPEAK Coordinator Anna Manning

Speak stands for Suicide, Prevention, Empowerment, Awareness and Knowledge.

“They’re really helping to minimize that stigma, like you said, it’s always been taboo to talk about," said Manning. "But, we’re hoping that the more we’re talking with these kids, the more they’re starting the conversation with their friends.”

Manning said suicide is tough to talk about, but it is a conversation that needs to be had.

“We did have one loss by suicide in every one of our school systems last year,” she said.

Manning hopes these tragedies will lead to more conversations for both parents and students.

“It involves everybody, it is right here in our schools, it’s right here in our community, it’s not someone else’s kids, it’s our kids," Manning said.

Manning said SPEAK holds town halls for parents to learn more and talk about suicide, the next one is on October 22.

There is also a SPEAK app that has resources, ideas and talking points on how you can help someone you think may be struggling.

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