Forum on suicide set for Sept. 20

By D. C. Moody -

LIBERTY — The Pickens County community will have an opportunity to explore the topic and warning signs of suicide at a Sept. 20 event in Liberty that is being coordinated by Awakenings, a church youth related organization.

The event, a roundtable discussion of suicide, is using the acronym A.S.A.P. — Awakening Suicide Awareness Prevention — and will feature local leaders along with Dr. Hope Threadgill of the Anderson, Oconee, Pickens Health Center.

Roy Costner, who participates with Awakenings, said this is a once-a-month event where youth from multiple churches worship together.

“With 16,000 students in Pickens County and a little over 2,000 who attend church regularly, there are several kids who don’t attend because they ‘don’t care, don’t want to, may be confused about all the different churches, etc.,’” Costner said. “Awakening is an event where kids who go to church can invite someone to come with them to worship, hear from various speakers and leaders in the community and discover what it means to follow Christ.”

The only requirement is that each person must leave their logo, T-shirt, catch phrase, denomination, etc. at the door.

“Our goal is to transform our community,” he said. “A wakening has been happening every month since spring of last year. When we first began, we met the third Wednesday night of each month. We have changed this to the third Tuesday night of each month in an effort to not compete with area church services.”

The idea for the roundtable discussion on suicide originated with a discussion with the Leadership team for Awakening back in April.

“We began a series called ‘Fitting In’ designed specifically to discuss some of the problems facing teens in their everyday life,” Costner explained.

The discussion topics included How are you going to experience God’s Love, Discovering God’s Love at home – Parents, Acting Out and finally a Town Hall type discussion on suicide.

The goals for the free event are to encourage adults, families and/or anyone affected by suicide to attend with the goal of offering hope, help and healing.

“The questions which will be asked have been submitted from youth and adults throughout the community,” Costner said. “In the past we have had 30 people to as many as 120. I don’t know what to expect but I am hopeful for a good turnout with everyone helping to get the word out.

“Our goal for this event is the same as it is for every Awakening event – that we continue to transform our community when it comes to the tragedy of suicide – to offer hope for those struggling, an awareness of how to get help or how to recognize someone who needs help, and an offering of healing for those who have been affected,” he said.

A.S.A.P. will be held Sept. 20 at the Rosewood Center in Liberty. A meet and greet will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the roundtable discussion will take place between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

By D. C. Moody

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

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