A Southridge High School student, along with help from others, has organized a candlelight vigil that will take place this weekend.  It's to honor a Richland High student who committed suicide April 27th.

Christian Robbins was an outgoing athletic highly accomplished student who sadly also suffered from some emotional and mental struggles.  After a promising football start at Richland, injuries curtailed his career. His family said he was making progress in dealing with his battle, but then COVID locked up all the school kids.

He lost his support system, and the COVID isolation proved to be the tipping point. Like many students and children, he felt suddenly alone, cut off from friends, support and the the in person education he loved.

In April, he drove to a Oregon where he stopped by a lake and took his own life. COVID isolation was a 'trigger' as experts say, that sent him on a downward spiral. Robbins is not alone,  suicides in Franklin County are double what they were last year.   While Benton has seen it's rates at about the same as 2019, a check of B-F 911 call logs from April through end of September show just about 25% of non-property crime calls were suicide threats or attempts (officials group Domestic Violence, Assault, and suicide together--DMV 1, 2 and related assaults).

A Southridge High Student name Josie Mettling, with help from the B-F Coalition for Full Time In Person Education and the Student Community Coalition for Tri-Cities, has organized the candlelight vigil. It's to honor Christian, and call attention to the serious growing mental health issues facing students due to COVID shutdowns, and their shattered education.

Mettling is one of a large number of students are taking action to try to persuade officials to listen to them, and safely re open schools; as well as recognize how disruptive and damaging these lockdowns and closures have been for all schoolkids.

The event will take place Saturday, from 3:30- 5PM at John Dam Plaza in Richland. The entire community is welcome, especially students, to pay tribute and call attention to this issue. 

For more details about this event, click on the button below.

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