SOUTH LYON, Mich. – It’s OK to not be OK -- it’s a message that has been shared often during Mental Health Awareness Month.
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Frank and Claire Domanico lost their son Eric to suicide when he was 19 years old. As they struggle through a year of firsts without him, they are pushing for a change in the education system to raise mental health awareness.
They knew their son had issues with anxiety when he was younger, but didn’t truly realize how serious that anxiety would become.
He was on a music scholarship at West Virginia University when the stress started building.
READ: Musicians around the world perform to honor South Lyon musician lost to suicide
His parents are using what they have learned about their son’s mental health with local school leaders and lawmakers. Their goal is to push for training and education about mental health awareness in schools from elementary school, all the way through college.
Their idea is to have some kind of anonymous assessment of students so they can share their concerns and worries and then the school can use that information to build a curriculum and services to better serve the students.
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The Domanicos also said a buddy system could really help. It could be a way for other students to let parents or teachers of a troubled child know there are real issues at hand.
The family said the videos, photos and memories of their child bring them comfort, but they also bring sadness, as they wish they knew more about the signs his mental health was breaking down.
You can watch Karen Drew’s full story in the video above.
Through the Eric Domanico Foundation, they hope to raise raising awareness of the mental health crisis and build an organization to inspire the youth. The organization announced it will award 15 scholarships to young artists entering or attending college in 2021-22.
Anyone who is interested in applying to the scholarship can apply here. The deadline to apply is June 1 and scholarships will be announced July 11.
More information on the scholarship can be found here and for more information on the Eric Domanico Foundation, to donate or contribute, visit the official website here or its official Facebook page here.