Congratulations to Depression Awareness & Youth/Young Adult Suicide (D.A.Y.S.) for being applauded by Avalon Park Wesley Chapel.
The nonprofit’s mission is to promote public awareness and educate the youth/young adults on suicide prevention, depression and bullying, and assist in the process of healing after the loss of a loved one due to suicide.
D.A.Y.S. was founded in 2020 by Brie Burke, who at age 10, dreamed of forming the nonprofit after her cousin David committed suicide at the age of 22.
“I not only felt the heartbreak that came with losing my cousin, but I also witnessed the gut-wrenching pain that my family went through,” says Burke. “No family should know the pain of losing a loved one through suicide, to forever wonder if you could have stopped that person by simply being there and listening, wondering if you missed some sort of sign that could have told you what that person was thinking and feeling.”
Burke realized at that young age that she would stop at nothing to help those suffering from depression, being bullied, or those who thought that they were better off not existing in this world.
D.A.Y.S organizes suicide, depression, and anti-bullying events in middle schools, high schools and colleges, as well as other venues, to provide educational information about these topics, and to help reduce the stigma associated with these issues and promote open communication lines.
According to Burke, some of the common signs of someone who is depressed and/or suicidal are persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and/or anger, loss of interest in hobbies, weight gain or loss, fatigue, loss of concentration, and social withdrawal.
Burke says there are lots of common misconceptions about youth depression and suicide.
“Probably one of the most common misconceptions is ‘What could possibly be so bad for them at such a young age to be sad or depressed about?’ Firstly, depression is a biologically based illness that is basically triggered by stressors such as social media, self-image, peer pressure and, in general, just fitting in. Young adults today have much more pressures and demands put upon them than those 30, even 20 years ago,” says Burke.
Burke’s advice to parents who have kids who are depressed and/or have suicidal thoughts is to listen, be supportive and nonjudgmental.
“Since loneliness usually comes hand in hand with depression, keep them busy. Do family events, have them join a club at school, invite schoolmates over for movie or game night. The goal is for them to not only feel but also see how connected they are to those around them, abolishing any feelings and thoughts that they are alone,” says Burke.
D.A.Y.S. currently is trying to get the funding needed for a new computer, printer, phone, as well as rack cards to be distributed through Pasco County middle schools, high schools and colleges, offering its assistance wherever needed. To donate, go to https://gofund.me/0f69ca1e.
The nonprofit is also looking to get a website developed, and Burke says it would be greatly appreciated if anyone would be able to donate some of their time to assist with that.
Published September 14, 2022