We at NAMI North Carolina were deeply saddened to learn of another heartbreaking loss. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of 12-year old Kayla Plotzke of Winterville, North Carolina who died last week. Kayla’s untimely passing highlights the sad truth that suicide among our youth has risen at an alarming rate. That a child with such promise should see suicide as the only option to deal with pain is tragic. To think that bullying may have played a significant role in her pain and the choice to end her life is intolerable. Our children deserve better.

We as a community need to take action to address the reported horrifying fact that suicide is now second only to motor vehicle accidents for deaths of North Carolina youths aged 10-17.

As one significant step forward, we strongly urge the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 476, which would require public schools to adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol and a mental health training program. In order to prevent future tragedies, we can and must bring together policy, awareness, and activism.

For more information on NAMI NC’s advocacy efforts and how you can be a part of this, and other legislative priorities, please contact ageorge@naminc.org.