United States

Prosper Residents Hold Suicide Prevention Town Hall Meeting

Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

Prosper ISD is dealing with the reality of that tragic statistic this school year as one of its students took their own life.

It's also now Mary Kirby's reality.

"My husband passed away by suicide on April 4 of this year," Kirby said.

Nick and Mary had been married for 10 years. Their family was completed with the births of 8-year-old Kennedy and 3-year-old Liam.

Kirby said there were of course stresses in their lives, but she never even thought something like this could happen to her family. The special education teacher and, now single, mother of two said Thursday night's Prosper Parents' Panel for Suicide Prevention: Hurting, Helping and Healing event is a step in the right direction. It's a way for people to understand how to start life-saving conversations.

That's exactly what co-organizer and Prosper resident Dr. Sarah Feuerbacher from SMU's Center for Family Counseling said she hoped.

"The fact that we had two deaths by suicide in 24 hours... they were different ages, but still, one of them was across the street from my own home," Feuerbacher said. "We need to be able to learn, we need to be able to do something for the families who are hurting right now and to help those who are hurting out there."

Twelve panelists from different backgrounds, including the school district, the town of Prosper, law enforcement and mental health professionals were on hand to answer questions.

Those who attended the standing room only-meeting at Prosper Town Hall heard a variety of details from warning signs to how to start difficult conversations with teens.

Mary Kirby now lives with the "what ifs," but added it's important for the people who are left behind to understand it's not their fault. Her number one priority now is her children.

"We have to be part of this because I don't ever want them to think that this is an option for them," Kirby said.

If you or someone you know ever needs help, it is available 24/7 on the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the crisis text line by texting "TALK" to 741-741.

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