KNOX COUNTY - In response to the recent deaths of students from Farragut High School, church members and parents gathered Wednesday night to learn how to prevent suicides and respond to emotional crisis.
"We've had a rash of suicides in the community and that's always scary. It's kind of a healthy scary because it's good for us to take a step back as parents to see what we can do better to help our kids," Pastor Victor Lee at First Baptist Concord said.
He said the message is to be close to your teenager.
"Whatever it takes to have meaningful dialogs about meaningful subjects and about their emotional well being and how they are thinking and clearly introduce god into that process," Lee added.
During the meeting, parents actively listened and learned what they can do at home that will help their teens cope.
"That's the biggest thing is listen more cause a lot of times, we as parents, just want to talk talk talk but we need to do a lot of listening," said Allen Doane, a parent.
Farragut High School Student Catherine Miller, who started a petition on Change.org, was also present during the gathering.
She answered a few questions and shared her story about how she's advocating for change.
“What I’ve been trying to do is be the voice, the students voice, because you can have a teacher or a parent or college kid talk to you all the want to but you are not going to get the same affect if one of your peers talks to you," Miller said.
She said there needs to be open conversations between teens and parents.
"The best thing that I think parents can do is be sympathetic and listen and be there for their children," Miller said.
Miller is hopeful a mental health program at Knox County Schools will help save lives.
"Say that four counties over they do the same thing that the county next to them is doing and that saves one kids life. And that's what makes it worth it. That's what I am doing," Miller said.
Next Wednesday at First Baptist Concord around 6 p.m. there will be another meeting to share resources, talk about how to approach, listen to your kids and lean on each other for support.
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