Night of Hope: Suicide prevention forum held at Temple Baptist Church

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hope was the message spread throughout Oak Grove and beyond the walls of Temple Baptist Church Wednesday night. WDAM cameras were inside the church for a public forum on suicide to encourage parents, teens and leaders in the community to stop the problem plaguing so many teens.

"That one split second that you are ending your life, there is a destructive path left behind," Julianna Fitton said.

Fitton's teenage daughter took her own life in November 2016.

A panel of counselors, social workers and other experts in the mental health industry took center stage talking about the problem teens are facing. Licensed Professional Counselor Stacy Fortenberry, passionate about changing dark mindsets to prevail, made her voice heard teaming up with leaders at Temple Baptist Church.

"There has been too many suicides in our area in the last few years, way too many," said Fortenberry.

"80 to 90 percent of people who get help get so much better, and the other ten percent, definitely get some relief," Fortenberry said.

The mission and goal to save lives.

"Suicide is not an answer to their problems," Missions Pastor Philip Slusher said. "I hope they learn their faith can be a help to their problem. But, I hope they also understand they are surrounded by people who love and care for them and that they need to lean in to trusted friends."

"Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," Slusher said.

"Talk, go talk to somebody. Go find a teacher, a pastor, a counselor," Fortenberry said. "There is somebody at your school that will talk to you about it. Parents, start a dialog with your children about this, it's a real issue."

An issue the entire community is trying to change.

"Please don't commit suicide, please don't," Fitton said.

If you were not able to attend the suicide prevention forum, you can contact Temple Baptist Church for more information on how to start a dialog with your children and options available for help.