Walkers plan 12-hour journey to raise awareness of mental health
Teresa Robinette became an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention after her son Jesse took his own life in 2019.
“I’ll never understand. We’ll never know, we’ll never understand,” Robinette said. “He didn’t write notes, he just said ‘I love you.’ ”
Jesse, who was 16 at the time, was the second Waccamaw High student to commit suicide that spring. Since that time, several WHS graduates have committed suicide.
“What bothers me is that we continue to have youth that have taken their lives,” Robinette said. “I don’t know what’s going on with our young people. It’s not just us. It’s not just Waccamaw. It’s not just Georgetown.”
Robinette will be walking along the track at Waccamaw High School on Saturday raising awareness about mental health issues at a Community RISE fundraiser.
The nonprofit, which promotes awareness, education, inspiration and support of community wellness and mental health, is a ministry of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. RISE is an acronym for resilient, informed, supported, and empowered.
“It’s not something that we’re doing to promote us. We’re doing it to serve the community,” St. Peter’s Pastor Greg Van Dyke said. “Anything that serves the community is the ministry at the church and this is certainly a need in the community.”
Jesse’s father, Anthony, works at the church and the family is part of the congregation.
One of the programs money from Saturday’s fundraiser is expected to support is Haven, an outreach program for teens that Van Dyke expects to start during the next school year.
“We just want to give them a safe place and make them aware that there are adults, apart from the family and teachers, that actually care about them because they’re a apart of our community,” Van Dyke said. “They’ll get a sense of having a place of belonging.”
The Community RISE walk will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday and end at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Social distancing and mask requirements will be enforced.
“If we don’t make as much money, but if we hit one person, it’s worth it,” Robinette said. “If one person changes their mind, or gets the help they need, it’s worth it.”
Registration is $15 per person and can be done at signupgenius.com. There is also a link on the Community RISE Facebook page.
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