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Palm Coast Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 3 years ago

Virtual Town Hall – first step in reaching out to teens considering suicide

Many work past technical difficulties to increase community awareness.
by: Jacque Estes Community Editor

After a few false starts and technical glitches, the Virtual Town Hall meeting got underway on Sunday night, Jan. 31.

The turnout was low, and maybe not the means of communication most teens normally use, but it was a start to build community awareness.

The meeting was hosted by Colleen Conklin, chairman of the school board, though this was not in her official capacity, and Barbara Coxwell, mother of Dalton Coxwell, who killed himself on Dec. 13, 2013. 

“I am here as a mother, we are moms trying to raise awareness,” Conklin said. “This is not just a youth issue, it’s a community issue.”

Statistics like it’s the 10th leading cause of death (all ages) in Florida, were stark, hard to comprehend numbers.

Coxwell spoke from her broken heart, her voice understandably still catching, two years later. She spoke about those left behind.

“It’s a constant battle,” she said. “You think you’re going uphill, but then there’s a setback that brings you back to emotional outbursts. I’ve never made it to the top of the other side.”

The conversation focused on the importance of a sense of connection, so there isn’t a feeling of aloneness in school or the community.

Some myths were dispelled, especially about asking someone if they feel suicidal. Conklin said many think if they ask the question it will give the person the idea, but in fact, it may open up critical discussion.

Making a list of trusted individuals -- whether a neighbor, family member or someone from church – was stressed. Parents were encouraged to have this talk, and encourage their children to have such a list.

Due to transmission, and user difficulties, the event obviously didn’t go as smoothly as Conklin had hoped.

For those who were not able to sign in, or perhaps logged off because they couldn’t connect properly, Conklin said she was working on having the entire PowerPoint made available on the school website,, in the near future.



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