Austin rally tackles child mental health and suicide prevention

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A rally held Saturday aimed at tackling mental health issues in children was held with the goal of educating families on suicide prevention. 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children and the leading cause of death for teenagers around the world. That is why organizers with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission put on the event with this year’s theme as suicide prevention.

Beronica Martinez was there representing her business, Better Beehive. She created the web application which allows users to check out the mental health awareness of different locations around Austin including restaurants, stores and different businesses.

“I have two children with special needs and I know the importance of sharing your voice and I think mental health is one of the most important things for families,” Martinez said. “I think this type of event is important just to show that mental health is just as important as any other medical diagnosis and as a community we need to start embracing those families and finding solutions for them.”

Speakers included Courtney Heard Harvey, associate commissioner of HHSC’s Office of Mental Health Coordination, Beth Gerlach, associate director of UT Austin’s Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez and Hugh Simmons, director of child and family services at Integral Care.

Martinez said she thinks integrating mental health into every aspect of life is one-way it can improve for children. Organizers also encouraged attendees to help their children get help if they need it sooner rather than later.

For children’s mental health resources, visit the Texas Health and Human Services website here.

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