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Officials push for discussions on mental health in time of community tragedy

Posted at 7:48 PM, Nov 11, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — Emotions were running high during Sunday night's Michigan State basketball game.

The brother of Spartan star point guard, Cassius Winston, died late Saturday night.

Investigators say Zachary Winston intentionally stepped in front of an oncoming train in Albion.

The tragedy has counselors saying now is the time to start conversations about mental health.

"We want to give our deepest condolences to the Winston family," said Royce Jones, a NAMI board member. "I know this is a tragic event and our hearts go out to them."

The community continues to send support and love to the Winston family, a day after the shocking news of Zachary Winston.

But Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Margart Keeler, hopes the community takes their support one step further and starts conversations about mental health and suicide

"Talk about this, don't sweep this one under the rug," said Keeler.

NAMI Lansing says depression can impact all ages, gender, and race with symptoms ranging from isolation, sadness, mood swings, suicidal thoughts that go on for more than two weeks.

Officials say many, especially men, tend to struggle with it in silence.

"We don't seek out help, we don't talk about it we tend to internalize a lot of our issues and problems," explained Jones. "This is a natural thing for you to feel angry, for you to have some form of sadness, for you to have some form of anxiety those are all-natural things, but how do we respond when we have those feelings?"

Although it's not always easy, but Jones says prioritizing self-care is a start....but more importantly, daily conversations need to happen.

"When we tend to make things a little more formal, it can get awkward a little bit so someone may not want to talk about how they are feeling, so we want to make the conversation on a casual level so people can talk about what they are feeling, how they are feeling and how long they have been feeling that way," explained Jones.

NAMI Lansing says they are will be available to lead others to mental health resources and services for all ages in person, online and over the phone especially during this difficult time for the community.

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