Local Teen Raises Awareness for Suicide Prevention
January is Mental Wellness Month and a perfect opportunity to highlight one of our youngest donors, 13-year-old Alexander Simonson, who recently donated $1,300 to Acenda in support of suicide prevention. Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals ages 15 to 34 years old.
In August 2019, Alexander, an eighth-grader at Williamstown Middle School, started training for his 2nd degree black belt and had to choose a personal goal. While most kids picked a physical goal, like running a six-minute mile, Alexander chose to educate people and raise money for suicide awareness. He made a video, with “One More Light” by Linkin Park as background music, explaining the staggering statistics of suicide and the five signs that someone may need help, and asked everyone to “be the change.” He chose that particular song because his favorite musician was the band’s lead singer Chester Bennington, who passed away of suicide a few years ago.
Alexander also designed and sold wristbands for one dollar with “I Matter” inscribed on outside and the suicide prevention hotline phone number on the inside. The overwhelming response he received from everyone made him realize that mental health and suicide are real issues that must be talked about. He was able to raise $1,300 selling the wristbands and Acenda is truly grateful to be the beneficiary of his efforts.
“Alexander chose to donate his proceeds to Acenda because he wanted to help locally,” said his mother Robin. He also knew that Acenda has many excellent programs that focus on suicide prevention, but most importantly, they have programs for children, teenagers, and their families.
Alexander was featured in the Williamstown Sun newspaper and in a “For Goodness Sake” segment on Fox 29 with Bill Anderson.