“We felt like it was needed to start a prevention support group to let people know they have someone. There are people that care and they shouldn’t feel like they’re alone,” said 2017 Watertown High School graduate B.J. York. “There are people in this community who want to help them.”
York said she was bullied for two years at Watertown and joined McGill to help others realize there are other options besides suicide and self-harm.
“In the community, we need to be there for each other, and we need to stop bullying, and we need to be there for people who suffer from depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts or actions. It’s sad to say it takes one person to take their own life before people decide it’s a problem,” York said.
McGill, a junior, said she was also the target of bullies during her time at Lebanon High School, and she thinks the tide is starting to turn at the school.
“It’s bad,” she said. “I feel like it’s kind of hard for the school to address it. What are they going to do? I feel like they could be doing more, and now that everybody’s freaking out, they’re going to start addressing it more now.”
“For C.J. to be going through it and realize that she’s not alone and doesn’t want other people to think they are too and want to help is really amazing,” said Tina O’Connell, McGill’s grandmother.
O’Connell said she became upset when she read recent online bullying testimonies from students and parents.
“It makes me mad. We’ve been trying to get help for over a year. We knew there was a problem, but we didn’t know other people were going through the same thing,” she said.
Lebanon High School and Wilson County Schools officials and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office will join forces Tuesday at Lebanon High School to address issues related to bullying, cyber bullying, harassment and suicide prevention and awareness.
“Within this past week, I feel like a lot of people have stepped up,” said York, who said she believes depression, bullying and suicide have not received the attention they warrant. “Suicide is not supposed to be taken lightly. It’s a serious matter.”
The support group will meet each Tuesday in different locations throughout the community and feature activities such as nature walks, bowling and more.
“We’re going to be like one big family,” York said.
The group said more information about the support group would be shared online through a Facebook group.