Spokane teen organizes event for mental health awareness

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

SPOKANE, Wash. -We shared a story last year about a local teen wanting to make a difference in bringing mental health awareness and suicide prevention to her classmates.

After months of planning, her efforts are paying off. She planned an event to help prevent young people from taking their own lives.

On Wednesday, Jackee Smith brought several counselors and groups together after school.

A beautiful smiling 13-year-old girl's picture, was the first picture that anyone saw when they walked into Rogers High School for Jackee's event.

The words scrawled across next to the girl's picture said, "Macie Matters."  Macie took her own life when she was 13-years-old.

A lot of people who came to the event that Jackee put on, had a personal story that brought them there. "I have a friend, who personally, she tried to commit suicide. It's rough for everyone whether you are super close to a person or not. It really affects everyone. When you know them, it makes you wonder, what could I have said, what could I have done? How did I not notice? And when you don't know them, you start to wonder, what does society do?" said Jackee.

Jackee says she wants people to realize there's a lot of resources out there. "There's help out there. I know that it has a personal touch with me. My family has struggled with mental health and these types of issues," she said.

Jackee says there is a mental health unit in her high school health class. "I feel like it should be brought up more," she said. It's a hard topic to talk about but one that can become too real. "My dad has a friend who committed suicide that he was really close to," Jackee said.

Jackee says she's not stopping with just one event. She says she hopes to have a concert or to raise money for a suicide prevention organization.

The national conversation about mental health and suicide prevention is an important one.

If you have questions, or concerns, there is never any shame in asking for help.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is open 24-7. That number is: 1-800-273-8255.

If you'd rather text, send the word "Home" to 741-741.

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