Into the Light: A community conversation about mental health and suicide

By DeDe Harris, Walton Wellness, Inc.

Suicide is up 30% in the U.S.  One in 4 kids under the age of 18 struggle with some type of mental health issue.  Unfortunately, Walton County is not protected from being a number in these statistics. In fact, Walton County has an increased suicide rate, above the state of Georgia average. This year alone we have had at least one suicide a month and many more who have attempted taking their own life.

Suicide impacts our community and the families of its victims in a way that no other death does. It is tough and uncomfortable to talk about so it is pushed into the dark where it is empowered to fester and spread. Its victims are also there, in the dark, isolated, afraid, hopeless and paralyzed by stigma.

We say Not Anymore!  It is time for us as a community to mobilize and take action to drain its power by bringing it Into the Light.

Walton Wellness Inc., along with Ridgeview Institute and The Walton County School System, is planning to do just that by hosting Into the Light, A Community Conversation about Mental Health and Suicide. It is planned for 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Walnut Grove High School auditorium. This will be a panel discussion with audience participation. Our panel will be made up of representatives from: Walton County School System, law enforcement, faith community, mental health professionals and individuals who have been affected by mental health issues and suicide. We hope to draw-in the community at large from professionals to students anyone and everyone who has a stake in this conversation. Our goal is that everyone will walk away from this gathering with the feeling of empowerment, hope and a sense that this is just the start of the work that we need to do to truly bring mental health and suicide out of the darkness in Walton County and into the light.

This summer Walton Wellness released a series on its podcast, Health is your Wealth about suicide in Walton County.  They have just released a bonus episode in this series.  You can listen at or find it on apple podcasts.  For more information about Into the Light event email Dede Harris at

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