Tragedy Inspires Eagle Eye Focus on Mental Health

Tyrone's Aevidum Club sponsored a team at the Blair County Out of the Darkness Suicide Walk. The Eagle Eye will dedicate this school year to the issue of mental health.

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Tragedy Inspires Eagle Eye Focus on Mental Health

Tyrone staff and students in front of the finish line for the walk.

Tyrone staff and students in front of the finish line for the walk.

Courtesy Photo

Tyrone staff and students in front of the finish line for the walk.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Tyrone staff and students in front of the finish line for the walk.

By Daniel Parker and Brent McNeel

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Disclaimer: This staff editorial contains mentions of death and suicide and may be triggering to some readers. Please use caution before reading. 

If you or someone you know needs help, visit the guidance office to speak with a guidance counselor or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Crisis Text Line (text “HOME” to 741741).


In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, Tyrone’s Avedium Club organized a group of Tyrone students, staff, and teachers to attend the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk  on September 8th in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The reason many Tyrone students and teachers were there this year was very personal.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues can only be overcome through education, awareness, and kindness. Therefore, in honor of Adam’s memory, the editors of the Eagle Eye have decided to adopt mental health awareness as a staff theme this year.”

In July, Tyrone graduate and former Eagle Eye Editor-in-Chief Adam Zook tragically took his own life.

It was a shock to everyone who knew and loved Adam. He was a valued, well-respected student and member of both the Tyrone and Slippery Rock University community. While a student at Tyrone, Adam was very involved and a leader of the student body. In addition to the Eagle Eye, he was also a member of the mock trial team, track team, cross country team, drama club and many other organizations at Tyrone High School.

As a student at Slippery Rock University, Adam was chosen as the Editor-in-Chief of the SRU Rocket, the school’s student newspaper. Adam formed close bonds with many students and teachers that should have lasted a lifetime. He will be greatly missed.

Members of Tyrone’s Aevidum Club, the Eagle Eye, and some of Adam’s high school friends were in attendance at the walk. Even though only a few knew Adam well, we were all shocked and heartbroken over his suicide.

The mood of the day was somber. It was not only a day of mourning and remembrance, it was also a day to consider what we can do to prevent these terrible tragedies.

Most of us never knew how much of a problem suicide is in our area. It is the leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years. Several local residents stepped onto a stage to tell their story of how suicide affected their lives. After the walk, we wrote the names of loved ones on balloons that were released into the air. Many people were visibly moved, and it hit hard.

But the walk was still more hopeful than sad. Tyrone High School’s team raised almost $2,000 for the Blair County Suicide Prevention Task Force. Tyrone was one of 56 teams and 577 participants. The event raised a grand total of $24,732.02.  It was a huge success.

Following the walk, several Tyrone students decided to spend the rest of the day together. Among them were current TAHS students Dan Parker, Brent McNeel, Tyler Beckwith, Nick Vasbinder, Kenzie Latchford, and Laura Kohler.  The group went out to dinner and after taking their seats and ordering food, an older couple in the restaurant noticed their “Walk to Fight Suicide” t-shirts and approached their table. The man said, “Guys, all your meals are paid for. We lost a son to suicide nine years ago. It’s great to see that you guys are supporting this cause. You guys keep walking.” His wife had tears in her eyes as she thanked the students and exited the restaurant.

We are truly grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the problem of suicide and mental health and what we can do to bring knowledge and awareness to the problem.”

The whole experience of the day was touching and emotional.

We are truly grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the problem of suicide and mental health and what we can do to bring knowledge and awareness to the problem.

Just wearing suicide awareness t-shirts made an impact on those parents. It proves the old adage that one smile can make someone’s day. We all need to be kind to others because you never know what someone is going through.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues can only be overcome through education, awareness, and kindness.

Therefore, in honor of Adam’s memory, the editors of the Eagle Eye have decided to adopt mental health awareness as a staff theme this year.

Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, each member of the Eagle Eye will be asked to write at least one story on the topic.

Hopefully, this series will help bring awareness and understanding to not only the issue of suicide, but to the importance of mental health in general.  We hope that our readers will support us by reading and sharing our stories this year.

If you or someone you love is struggling or feeling trapped, reach out and talk. If you feel you have no one, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There is always hope.

This story was originally published on Tyrone Eagle Eye News on September 19, 2019.