BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Anne Hadaway is 18 years old, embarking on her freshman year of college at the University of South Alabama. But it’s her connection to where she went to high school that led her to Change.org.
“I decided it was time to take action,” she said.
After hearing about three young students in Baldwin County directly impacted by suicide, she wanted to advocate for enhanced mental health education and awareness in schools. So she started an online petition.
The school district says curriculum decisions aren’t up to the county – that it’s up to the Alabama State Board of Education, but that Baldwin County has “school-based” mental health therapists at each campus.
Hadaway’s connection has another fold. She had a friend take their own life in high school.
“I remember how hard it was for me to deal with this at 17, 18 years old,” she said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to deal with this at such a young age, it’s so dense, so confusing for people even out of school, like so to be that young and deal with that I just don’t know. It needs to change, something needs to happen.”
The Baldwin County Board of Education partners with multiple organizations to help students and staff with their emotional well-being. The district is holding an event called “Shatter the Silence” on Thursday to address the issue of suicide.