WINDER – On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Fatality Review Unit hosted a Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Summit at River Hills Church in Winder. The Summit was held in partnership with the Barrow County School System to reduce childhood fatalities in their area.
The summit addressed the rise in youth suicides in Georgia, discussed how to recognize warning signs, and promoted prevention efforts. So far in 2018, 27 youth suicides have been reported in the state. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15 to 17.
“These deaths can be prevented. Intervention with a troubled child can save a life,” said Vernon M. Keenan, Director of the GBI.
“Barrow County Schools are committed to keeping our children safe. We have provided our children with a tip line to help,” said Dr. Chris McMichael, Barrow County Schools System Superintendent. The number for Barrow County students is 678-786-2144 and can be accessed via call or text.
Also presenting during the summit were:
- Trebor Randle, Special Agent in Charge, GBI Child Fatality Review Unit
- Shevon Jones, Prevention Specialist, GBI Child Fatality Review Unit
- Mandi Ballinger, State Representative, Child Fatality Review Panel, Chair of House Juvenile Justice Committee
- Terry England, State Representative, Chair of House Appropriations Committee
- Erin Harlow-Parker, Clinical Program Manager, Advanced Practice Consult Liaison Psychiatry
- David Crosby, Barrow County Coroner
- Heather Stafford, Barrow County School System Resource Officer
- Charlie & Hannah Lucas, R U Ok App
- Rick Chamberlain, Field Program Specialist, DFACS
Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith and numerous educators, principals, and counselors attended the summit with Barrow County citizens. For access to services, regardless of income or insurance, the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) is available 24/7 to help you or someone you care for in a mental health crisis at 1-800-715-4225.