September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. A very important component to preventing suicide is taking proper care of mental health. Approximately half of all individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition and research shows that 90% of them have experienced symptoms consistent with their conditions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), “Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10–34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.” 

Awareness, advocacy, and action for mental health should begin early in life. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, “It is imperative that we improve efforts around early recognition of mental health needs among children and adolescents and foster greater awareness of early warning signs. Early identification of mental health problems needs to be encouraged in preschool, childcare, K-12 education, health, child welfare, juvenile justice and substance use settings. Staff in these settings require additional training and technical assistance to understand the early warning signs of mental health problems, what to do about them and where to make referrals for further assistance.”  

On Tuesday, September 14, Cobb County District 2 Commissioner Jerica Richardson and Cobb Collaborative will host a town hall meeting at the Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center regarding youth mental health.  The tabling event, beginning at 6 p.m., will include organizations from around Cobb that deal with mental health and provide resources. The speaker panel will be at 7:00PM at the amphitheater behind the library. All are invited to come to listen to the panelists, have questions answered, and have an educational and enjoyable evening while learning about the importance of youth mental health.  Register at: or via registration event link at

For more information, contact Irene Barton, Cobb Collaborative Executive Director, at 

Cobb Collaborative is a nonprofit organization in Cobb County seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. To learn more, visit our website at