Parents Who Lost Son To Suicide Paint Rocks With Inspiring Messages To Help Others

Emily McWilliams 11 Sep 2019

When tragedy affected one family, they discovered a creative outlet that helped them through their grief. Now, they've been inspired to take their story to the world and save more lives in the process.

Bill and Dawn York have lived through every parent's worst nightmare.

Unsplash | Francisco Gonzalez

The couple's 20-year-old son, Joshua, decided to take his own life on July 28, 2018.

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Joshua's family was overcome with grief over his death.

Unsplash | Jordan Whitt

At the time, Bill and Dawn's other children were five, 10, and 12 and struggling to find ways to express their sadness.

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The family began doing nightly activities to help them heal and honor Joshua's memory.

Unsplash | Andrian Valeanu

One of those activities was painting rocks.

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They connected to the activity immediately.

Painting rocks was a calming, creative outlet during this difficult time. They soon realized the rocks could include inspiration messages to help others going through a similar experience.

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Bill and Dawn decided to start a Facebook group called Suicide Prevention Rocks.

They've encouraged other people to paint their own rocks and leave them in places where their messages can help others.

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The Facebook group currently has over 15,000 members.

Besides sharing photos of their rocks, it allows people who have been affected by suicide to seek support.

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On Septmber 10, 2019, the group held the first ever Rock The World Event in honor of Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day.

Facebook | Suicide Prevention Rocks

The event encouraged people from around the world to paint their own rock to inspire hope and awareness in the face of suicide.

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If you are struggling with the topic of suicide and need help, there are a number of resources available.


Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741-741 for free.

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