A suicide lecture, featuring an expert from the University of Louisville Depression Center, takes place Tuesday night as the community continues to grapple with the recent death of a 10-year-old Kerrick Elementary School student who took his own life.

The lecture called “Understanding and Recovering from Suicidality” is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5, at the St. Paul United Methodist Church at 2000 Douglass Blvd.

The event, which is free and open to the public, comes less than a month after the death of Seven Bridges, a 5th grade Jefferson County Public Schools student whose family has said that he was bullied. His suicide garnered national attention, and Superintendent Marty Polio has said that a suicide prevention summit will be held.

Meanwhile, the lecture could be helpful for individuals who want to start learning more about suicide, either because of Seven’s death or for some other reason, organizers say.

“It’s tragic whenever anyone dies and the loss of a young child is sometimes even more devastating because … to think of a young person being in that much emotional pain is just upsetting,” said Stephen O’Connor, associate director of the University of Louisville Depression Center.

“The community is thinking about that and this would be an appropriate place to learn more about why it is that people experience suicidal thoughts and some effective ways of understanding them and also treating them.”

The Depression Center is sponsoring the event with Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Louisville, which offers support and networking opportunities.

A lot of people with those mental health diagnoses “have experienced suicidality,” said O’Connor, an assistant professor. ” … We’ve learned a lot about how to help people who are suicidal find ways to recover from that and move forward with their lives, and we’re just excited to have a conversation with the public about that.”

The event also will be an opportunity for the public to learn more about the UofL Depression Center, which serves as a resource for depression and bipolar disorder treatment, research and education.

“One of the points that we’re trying to make is that most depressed people are not suicidal,” O’Connor said. “However, most people who are suicidal are depressed, so the depression is an important aspect of suicide prevention. However, it can’t be the only or even the main thing that you focus on if you’re working with a suicidal person.”

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Darla Carter
Darla Carter is a hometown girl who recently joined the staff of Insider Louisville to mostly cover health. She previously served as a longtime health and fitness writer for The Courier-Journal, where she also worked for the Metro, Neighborhoods and Features departments. Prior to that, the award-winning journalist wrote for newspapers elsewhere in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering a range of topics, from education to courts. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she studied journalism and philosophy, and is the proud mom of two young children.