Worthington News

'Red Flags'

High-schoolers produce suicide prevention video


When a mutual friend attempted suicide last September, Casey Keegan, Abby McWilliams and Ian Mintz knew they had to do something.

The Worthington high school community had lost three students to suicide in the past year. It had to end, they decided.

"I don't want to go to another candlelight vigil," McWilliams said.

From their grief and commitment came "Red Flags," a video of plain talk about suicide. It covers ways to recognize depression and suicidal thoughts, ways to talk to a friend who might be considering taking his or her own life and ways to get help.

The three Thomas Worthington students interviewed other students, as well as teachers and counselors in the Worthington schools. The video is a short but complete guide to suicide prevention.

"We wanted to spread the message to the whole school," Keegan told the Worthington Board of Education, which viewed the video April 22.

They also were inspired when a friend of Nick Trebonik's rode his bicycle across the country to raise money for suicide awareness.

Trebonik, an 18-year-old Worthington Kilbourne High School graduate, died in March 2012.

Alex Wilson, also 18 and a Thomas Worthington graduate, died in July 2011.

Drey Meine, 19, a Thomas Worthington graduate, died in August 2012.

The families of two of the boys agreed to be part of the video. Interviewing them was the most touching part of the project, McWilliams said.

Mintz said he hopes the video becomes part of the curriculum at the high schools.

"It's an obligation for everyone in our community and at our school to help prevent this," he said.

Many board members and members of the audience at the meeting were moved to tears by the video. The students received a standing ovation.

"If this video helps one child, your time and effort were worth it," board member Jennifer Best said.

The video is available only within the district for now, according to district public-information officer Vicki Gnezda.