“You Matter Merritt Island Day” aims to raise awareness about suicide

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – According to a press release, the mother of a young man who took his own life at the age of 18 is making a concerted effort to raise awareness about the issue of suicide as part of National Suicide Awareness Week by inviting the public to attend “You Matter Merritt Island Day” on Saturday.

According to the press release, the purpose of the event is to promote awareness as well as give resources. A number of schools on Merritt Island have volunteered to either set up a “hug station” or a free lemonade stand during the event.

According to the announcement, local churches have been asked to take part in the event by giving out complimentary baked goodies to everyone who comes by on Saturday.

“I lost my 18-year-old son Hunter to suicide last September. If I can prevent just one family from experiencing the pain that my family is going through, then I’ll have achieved my goal,” mother Kelly Haskins said.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th largest cause of death in the United States, and men are roughly four times more likely to take their own lives than women.

“I’ve come to realize that suicide is becoming a true epidemic, especially among men…” said Rochelle Anderson, who lost her son to suicide in October. “We need to listen and do something about it. We also need to break the stigma around men’s mental health and let them know it’s OK to talk about it.”

“You Matter Merritt Island Day” will also encourage the use of the recent 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which provides an easy-to-remember three-digit hotline for those considering suicide.

“We want to put stickers in everyone’s hands,” Haskins said. “Put them on your kid’s laptop, reusable water bottle, their backpack, so that if they need help, the (number) is in their face. I wish Hunter would have had the sticker on his laptop. Maybe he would have texted for help.”

The following businesses and organizations will be taking part in “You Matter Merritt Island Day,” as stated on the Facebook page for the event:

  • Merritt Island High School: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — High Fives
  • Audubon Elementary School: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Lemonade
  • Jefferson Middle School: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Lemonade
  • Lewis Carroll Elementary School: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Lemonade
  • Faith Lutheran Church: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Baked Goods and Goat Hugs
  • First Christian Church of Cocoa Beach: 4 – 6 p.m. — Free Ice Cream
  • Islander Alliance Church in Merritt Island: 9 – 11 a.m. — Hugs and Lemonade
  • Papa Vito’s Italian Restaurant Cocoa Beach: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Free Lemonade
  • Fitness Club in Merritt Island: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. — Free Smoothies

To sign up for this event, businesses, schools, and churches are encouraged to get in touch with the organizers at (321) 794-6485 or [email protected].

Visit the event’s Facebook page for additional details.

Jordan Collins

Jordan is an experienced editor with years in the journalism and reporting industry. He loves talking with the community about the problems local residents face and state politics. You can find him in the gym almost every day or see him jogging.

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