LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was a behind-the-scenes look during New York Fashion Week, but the Live Out Loud Charity event was focused on more than style.
“We do fashion shows to create awareness around suicide prevision and anti-bullying,” Tami Charles said.
Tami is the mother of Seven Bridges, the 10-year-old who took his own life in January. She says this is just one more way to keep his spirit alive.
“It’s not easy. It’s a very hurtful thing but we are excited to be able to show our light in our darkest times,” Tami said.
It’s an issue hitting Kentucky hard.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, one in 7 high school students has seriously considered suicide within the last year. One in 5 middle school students considered ending their own lives at one point.
Jefferson County Schools, the state’s largest district, reported 8 suspected suicides last school year.
It’s what prompted a change in policy.
“That’s what I like to look forward to – because yes, my son was number 8 but we should’ve been doing this at number one,” Tami said.
Now there are mental health counselors in every school in JCPS’ district. Tami says it’s a step in the right direction.
“I’m so excited that they started this in the schools, we can now begin making better children to make better adults – so that’s really wonderful,” Tami said.
JCPS also held a bullying and suicide prevention summit earlier this year. Nearly 1,000 administrators were able to collaborate with other schools across the country to find ways to address these issues.
It was such a success, the district plans to have another one this year.