HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens and young adults, according to the World Health Organizaion.
For everyone person who dies by suicide, there's thought to be 20 more people who have attempted it.
Now, a local foundation is hoping to bring those numbers down by spreading awareness about mental health, letting people talk about what they're going through and helping them find an outlet.
The Ed Lally Foundation launched the Truth campaign on Thursday, March 12. The goal is to encourage people to share their truths on social media using the hasthag my truth.
"We want them to express their truths, good bad and ugly. Successes failures, experiences with depression anxiety even just a bad hair day," said Jordan Lally, Ed's son.
Ed Lally died in 2014. He took his own life after a a long battle with clinical depression.
"That for me was a wake up call for my own mental health which I hadn’t addressed for 20 some years," said Jordan. When he was going through his depression he used music and meditation as outlets. Now, he helps others find ways to express themselves. He said, "open and honest expression and meditation helped me heal in ways I never imagined possible."
Jordan is the lead singer of a band called The Big Infinite. One of their songs, "The Truth," inspired the Truth Campaign. They work together to help de-stigmatize mental illness.
One of Jordan's favorite ways to do that is by performing and speaking to high school students about the power of expression.
"It’s about creative expression giving voice to your thoughts and feelings. It’s talking about conversation expression, talk what you’re going through to friends family therapists teaches anybody that will lend a supportive ear and mindful expression allowing your thoughts and emotion to rise to the surface through a practice of mindfulness," said Jordan.
One student impacted is Haley Slaughter. She suffers from depression and anxiety. After the assembly at her high school she said, "it made me feel a lot less alone and it showed me this isn’t something I should work to hide but instead I should work to raise awareness and by helping others I’ve developed skills to help myself."
She had people in the community express their truth of battling mental illness through art.
One example is a student expressing what it's like living with mental illness.
She said, "she made a calendar and every day of every month is full something mental illness has caused her to do."
Another is a medicine cabinet full of things people said to one of the students after she shared she had depression.
"She's had people tell her you don’t look depressed. You don’t look like you should have a mental illness," said Slaughter.
Her message? You're not alone. She said there are people who understand and can help. That's why she wanted to work with Jordan on the truth campaign.
"The truth is every one struggles but everyone works to get better if they can get help," said Slaughter.
For more information on the Ed Lally Foundation and the Truth Campaign, click here. Follow the Ed Lally Foundation on Facebook by clicking here and don't forget to use #mytruth when you share your information on social media.