Walker County teen creates suicide awareness foundation
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Johnson
While most 18-year-olds are concerned with extra-curriculars, getting a job or preparing for college, Walker County native Olyvia Mooney is working toward ensuring others don’t struggle alone.
Mooney created and hosted her Walker County Walk for Teen Suicide Awareness, in which she walked the length of Walker County via Highway 78 between July 5 and July 9. Her goal was raising awareness and funds for teen suicide prevention, education and resources for area schools, law enforcement and health care facilities.
She’s no stranger to suicide and depression, she said, and hid her struggles from her loved ones, peers and teachers because it wasn’t something commonly discussed out in the open. Now, Mooney is using her voice to tell other teens that it’s OK to speak up.
“I am a suicide survivor,” she said. “I’m very lucky to be alive. So, to be able to help others, I finally found my calling. I finally found my purpose in life.”
The idea for the walk came about in the wake of recovery.
“My health took a big toll, so to be able to actually see that my body could do that, to push through that for something that meant so much for me was worth it to be able to raise awareness to as many people as I can,” said Mooney.
But that’s not all she’s doing, and not all she’s done.
Mooney shared her story when she competed in Universe Miss Nationals, and is working on building a foundation focused on suicide prevention and awareness. Her foundation’s first goal is providing a scholarship to Alabama’s Southern Miss pageant, so she can give back to those who helped her.