Reporting by WVUA 23’s Grace Campbell.

Local residents learned how to take steps to prevent suicide at the first-ever “Strike Out Suicide Bowling Night” at Bowlero Bowling Alley on Saturday night.

The Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation (K.A.Y.F.) held the event. It was not only a fun activity for people to do, but it also raised awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.

“If we can stall, or stop, one other child from committing suicide, then we’ve done our job,” said Annette Smallwood, who attended the event.

Suicide is a problem not only in Alabama but a problem across the country as well.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10 through 24,” K.A.Y.F. Executive Director Jacquan Winters said. “It’s the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Someone dies by suicide every 11.89 minutes.”

The foundation’s purpose is to inform people about the signs of someone struggling with their mental health, so having events like “Strike Out Suicide” normalizes the conversation of mental health and mental illness.

“Talking about mental illness, talking about mental health, in general, makes it less of a stigma so people don’t feel afraid to reach out and say I’m struggling, I’m depressed, I’m anxious, and I don’t know how to deal with these feelings,” event attendee Tamar Wilson said.

The foundations executive assistant, Jasmine B. Knox said they want people to know that suicide doesn’t have to be the answer to their problems and they can remove themselves from the issues that are troubling them.

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