Safe Space

Group aims to help troubled youth

To Sherry Abbott, one death by suicide is one too many.

With a number of area young people having taken their lives over the past several years, Abbott and several other concerned Callaway County residents have banded together to create a space where struggling teens can turn for help.

The executive board of the newly-created Safe Spaces, a non-profit organization for the prevention of teen suicide, had its first meeting Tuesday afternoon, and members said they hope to start making a difference soon.

“(Suicide) has affected my family and the whole community,” Abbott, president of the Safe Spaces board, said of the decision to take action. “To me, one (suicide) is too many, and we just keep saying we don’t have a problem, and I felt like we had a problem after the first year.

“I see a need with the kids that are asking for some kind of program to go to. We have a real need here in our community.”

Like Abbott, vice president Emily Carroll, who also is the pastor at Court Street United Methodist, said her interest in Safe Spaces stems from a personal connection to suicide, as well as a desire to serve her community.

“I think part of a church’s job is to be in the community. I had been here a whole three months when I got a call about a teen suicide, so I knew right off the bat we had a problem here,” Carroll said. “My goal is just making sure young people have a safe place to go if they need to talk, and trusted adults they can turn to.”

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