LSU students, former athletes gather to discuss suicide risk
BATON ROUGE - After 15-year-old Owen Tabor died by suicide in April 2023, his parents Lisa and Jordan made it their mission to provide a safe space for mental health conversations in their community.
Monday night in the Pete Maravich Center, the Tabors and former LSU athletes came together to talk about mental illness and suicide, which are significant concerns among teens and young adults in Louisiana. In Louisiana, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people.
Panel conversations emphasized resources and finding help. Among the speakers were former LSU student-athletes Ashleigh Gnat, Kevin Faulk, and Delvin Breaux Sr., as well as featured speaker Brandon Saho, host and creator of “The Mental Game” podcast. The podcast interviews athletes, musicians, and others about their own stories of mental health challenges and triumphs.
"I love a routine that I can always go back to, even when things around me feel really chaotic," said Gnat, an LSU gymnast turned coach. "I'm definitely making therapy a part of that."
College students, teens, and parents participated in the group panel. They asked questions and learned what they could do to support friends and family in crisis.
Saho shared his own story of alcoholism, recovery, and sobriety.
"People who really love and care about you, they might not understand at first, but I promise they want to help you," Saho said.
The event at the PMAC is one stop on Saho's 30-state tour to share messages of hope and healing, with athletes adding their own anecdotes. Faulk, who played in the NFL shared his Monday night.
"As kids, when you call your dad and tell him you're struggling with it, the first thing he tells you is to, 'Suck it up. Rub dirt in it. You're going to get through it.' For me, like you, it took me a while to understand that I might have been dealing with something," Faulk said.
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