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Suicide prevention program given to seventh-grade students at WDC

Kathy Brown wears her son's baseball cap as she describes his life from the day he was born until the day he committed suicide during a Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention presentation at WDC High School recently.

Wadena-Deer Creek seventh-graders listened to a powerful message recently from the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention program. Kathy Brown of Brainerd (pictured) spoke about her 22-year-old son, Judd, who committed suicide in 2006. She referred to suicide as a "silent cancer."

She said her son, Judd, dealt with depression and bullying from the time he was in middle school until his death.

"You've heard the saying, 'Sticks and stones will [break] my bones, but words will never hurt me?' Well, I'm here to tell you that words do hurt. They hurt your heart and soul," Brown told WDC students, as they watched photos of Judd as a baby on up to days before he died on a TV monitor.

Yellow Ribbon volunteers Jon Ring and Dale Kuglin provided students an overview of the signs and symptoms of depression. Each student completed a survey on depression and given a Yellow Ribbon card outlining the signs of suicide.

WDC High School principal Tyler Church said the Yellow Ribbon program provides students another outlet for them to talk to someone if they feel depressed or bullied.

The Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention program was founded in 1994 by parents of a teenager who took his life when he did not know the words to say, or how to let someone know he was in trouble and needed help. For more information, visit