Teenager breaks the silence on depression and suicide

Suicide and depression impact all parts of the Tri-States.

But the topics aren't always openly discussed.

A Palmyra teenager wants to change that.

KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with him about an event this weekend to help "break the ice," so to speak.

John Bunten is organizing what he calls a "Race for Hope" this Saturday. It's a 5K run/walk to raise money for a foundation he started called, "The Story of H.O.P.E."

He said, "The money that's raised for the foundation actually is going to go towards me traveling around and talking with high schools in the Missouri area and hopefully later on across the country about suicide prevention and self-injury to kind of raise awareness and let kids know that they're not alone and that there is hope for everybody suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts."

Bunten said, "I dealt with depression in high school, and it wasn't really anything that people knew about. I got really good at hiding it, and then I went off to college and it caught up to me. I was away from family and friends, and I came home, and I actually hit rock bottom and attempted suicide on Sept. 2 and kind of waking up in the Air Evac Unit and going to the hospital. It made me want to turn that into something good and helpful to people. If I can go out and tell my story and ways to cope with it, then to help one more person, I guess it's worth it, cause it's not a fun place to be."

He said, "We recently had a suicide at our high school. It's something Palmyra has gotten a little too close to know about, unfortunately."

Bunten said, "It's okay to ask someone if you see someone down and they're out, it's okay to say, 'how are you doing? Are you alright?' and ask them if they want to talk about it, because it could potentially save their life."

It's amazing how many people are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, cutting and self-injury. It's one of the things that people will, when they're going through it, they feel like they're alone, but really, there are thousands of people who are suffering from it."

The Race for Hope will take place this Saturday at Palmyra Flower City Park.

It costs $20 to participate.

Registration beings at 8 a.m., and the race begins at 9 a.m.