Principal: Suicide is the number one cause of death among teens in Loudoun Co.
PURCELLVILLE, Va. (ABC7) —
It's a walkout.
All 1,500 students left their books inside and took a lap around Woodgrove High School in Purcellville.
"Actually felt really proud that everyone wants to help for those victims," said freshman Courtney Shorts.
They are victims of suicide, and they're young. Along the walk, students are encouraged to support each other and to be understanding of their challenges.
"We've just lost four people this academic year to suicide so I just really wanted to change that," said junior Puneet Kaur.
According to the school principal, suicide is now the number one cause of death among teens, more so than car crashes in Loudoun County.
"No one seems to talk about it. So I think by having this walk we actually bring the issue to light," said senior Minh-Tam Tran Le.
Students then walked right into an assembly and into more information about how mental illness can lead to suicide.
Ryan Bartel committed suicide before he graduated from Woodgrove High. So his parents started the Ryan Bartel Foundation and the walk.
Suzie Bartel says her son battled depression and was bullied.
"Most of them are hiding a lot of things. They're scared to be honest with each other," said Bartel.
A documentary played. A moment of silence was held. The "We're All Human Walk" took steps toward taking away the shame.
"Everyone has a problem at one time or another during their lifetime and we all go through this," said Bartel.
The walk is planned again for next year.