Howell Public Schools is helping educate parents on the warning signs of depression in children with a special event next week.

When Stephanie Harris, of Howell, and her husband lost their son Ethan to suicide last year, Harris said it threw them into “a pit of heart-hurt like no other.” Now, she’s working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to make sure no parent goes what she went through, and no student feels the hopelessness her son did.

The AFSP, this coming Tuesday at 6pm, will be at the Howell High School Rod Bushey Performing Arts Center with their program, More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention for Parents. At the event, Steve Windham, who is the Michigan Director for the ASFP, will speak on depression signs and what to look for in a student who may be suffering. He will provide tools and strategies for starting a conversation with your children, and give examples of indicators that parents might not always see.

Harris has worked with this program before and said the response has been real positive. Parents can come in, ask questions 1-on-1 with an expert, and leave with a greater confidence in going home and opening a conversation with their kids. This program is best suited for parents of middle and high school students, but anyone can attend.

While Tuesday night’s event is ultimately aimed at educating parents, Howell Public Schools is also working with the AFSP to reach out to students and teachers. Earlier this year, students attended an AFSP event on teen depression and how to recognize signs in themselves and their friends. On December 7, middle school and high school teachers will participate in a More Than Sad event which will focus on recognizing mental health condition, warning signs of suicide, and steps they can take to help at-risk students. (MK)