RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students and residents gathered Saturday in Raleigh for the third annual Walk for Mental Health.
The youth-led event helps create a bridge between young people and getting the help they need for their mental health.
"It might make a small impact to one person, but with so many people, I think that we can make a big change in the community," said Niko Wiguna of the Wake County 4H Teen Council.
Wiguna and other members of the teen council hosted the charity walk benefitting the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
It is a cause that is near and dear to Wiguna's heart.
"I had a close friend who especially during quarantine had some suicidal thoughts," Wiguna said. "And thankfully, I was there to be that support person for them. And through that experience, I really wanted to make other people be that support person for whoever in their friend group, their family or anyone that they really love and care about."
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among children between 10 and 14 years old. And it's the third leading cause of death among people 15 to 24 years old.
"There's still a stigma out there, so a big part of this event is to get people to connect to the right resources and just get them talking about it," said Dan Bulatek, Wake County 4H Youth Coordinator.
They are starting conversations, offering resources, and creating safe spaces -- one step at a time.
"I want them to come away with the fact that there are so many people around them that care about an issue that they might feel like they're alone with," Wiguna said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You can also go to 988lifeline.org.