NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One Nashville woman is working to connect the community to suicide prevention resources with the inaugural “Together We Are Stronger” event, held in Hadley Park on Saturday.
Elizabeth Averill lost her brother, Patrick Otto, to suicide nine years ago. She believes it’s something that could have been prevented.
“I was the one that found him so I suffered a great deal of PTSD, and after that I had such an intense emotion of grief and what do I with this? So, I decided I want to take this pain and turn it into something beautiful,” Averill said.
Otto was a 17-year-old football player and was managing his mental health with therapy and medicine. Averill believes pressure from his peers, while coming from a good place, took things in the wrong direction.
“They told him, ‘Hey, come work it out on the football field. You don’t need to go to therapy.’ So he did; he trusted them,” Averill said. “And same things with the girls. They said, ‘We can’t go to homecoming with someone on medication. We’re scared. We don’t know, we just can’t date you.”
Otto died two weeks after stopping medication and therapy. Averill hopes Saturday’s event will provide resources and help break stigmas to save the lives of others.
“I think suicide is preventable; it is not an incurable disease. Suicide is 100% preventable,” Averill said.
Averill hopes her brother’s legacy will live on through the Together We Are Stronger event, which she hopes to host annually.
“My brother was a people person and it’s incredible to see all of these people surrounding me in his memory, and now changing the future for other people and the next generation and the next generation. We’re going to break these stigmas down and we’re going to stop suicide, and we can do it and it starts today,” Averill said.
Averill wants anyone struggling to know there are a variety of resources available, including resources tailored to a variety of groups.