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'One person can make a difference' | Mental health advocate pushing to require suicide prevention signs in NC parking decks

Fonda Bryant said she's hopeful state lawmakers will draft a bill that could help save lives.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A mental health advocate is pushing to expand her suicide prevention signs seen in many Charlotte parking decks statewide. 

Fonda Bryant began partnering with parking garages in 2019 to post green signs that say, "You're not alone. Need help? The national suicide hotline: Call 800-273-8255 Text: Help to 741741."

The goal is to reach people in places where they could be at risk of taking their own lives. She started the effort after learning the parking deck across from the Spectrum Center in Uptown had several suicides in just a few years. 

Bryant now has her signs in 10 parking decks across the city but isn't stopping there. She is advocating for state lawmakers to pass a bill that would make the signs a requirement in all North Carolina parking garages.

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She told WCNC Charlotte that reminding someone they're not alone can be the difference between life and death. It’s something she has to remind herself too, as someone living with clinical depression. 

“When we’re suicidal, it's a lot of pain," Bryant shared. "It's not just in our head. It's from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet.”  

A 2019 national survey by the International Parking & Mobility Institute found that 51% of parking facilities have experienced a suicide or attempted suicide.  

Bryant thinks her signs can help combat that statistic.  

She’s received support from lawmakers like Senator Joyce Waddell and Representative Carla Cunningham.

“My goal is to have every single parking deck in the state of North Carolina with my signs in it," Bryant told WCNC Charlotte. "So it's just something to see all these people getting involved and the thing is, one person can make a difference.” 

Bryant added she’s meeting with state public health officials in February to advocate for the bill.

WCNC Charlotte asked Senator Waddell if she plans to draft a bill that would require the signs in all parking decks and is waiting to hear back.  

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.


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