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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on July 17, 2019

Tidelands Health partners with local schools to raise awareness of mental health issues, suicide prevention

In partnership with Coastal Montessori Charter School and Georgetown County School District, Tidelands Health will serve as the title sponsor of a community walk to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues affecting the community.

Tidelands HealthThe first RISE Above the Dark Mental Health Awareness Walk will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at the Waccamaw High School track, 2412 Kings River Road in Pawleys Island. The goal is to educate and encourage the community to RISE – Recognize, Intervene, Support and Enlighten – to provide resources, care and comfort to those in need.

The idea for the walk originated after a number of suicide attempts and suicides by teens and young adults in the community.

Participants will walk through the night and then rise with the sunrise – symbolic of their desire to help those living with mental health challenges rise above the “dark” they can sometimes feel.

“Tragedies brought on by mental health issues in our community have left us heartbroken and determined to find new ways to come together and tackle this critical issue,” said Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of Tidelands Health. “Every step we take during this 12-hour awareness walk can help move us in the right direction to make a difference.”

Coastal Montessori Charter School and Waccamaw High School, along with assistance from Georgetown County School District, are organizing the walk.

“This a serious issue for our students, our schools and our community,” said Alan Walters, executive director for safety and risk management for Georgetown County School District. “One of the goals of this walk is to raise awareness and take away some of the stigma of mental health issues.”

Residents, businesses, charities and others who are interested in participating or sponsoring the event can attend a meeting to learn more. The meeting will be held Tuesday, July 30, at 9 a.m. in the Coastal Montessori Charter School Grand Hall, 111 Old Plantation Drive, Pawleys Island.

In addition to raising awareness, the event aims to raise money for area not-for-profit mental health service providers to help offer needed resources.

“We encourage anyone concerned about the safety and well-being of our community to attend the meeting July 30 to learn how to help,” said Justin Annunziato, a physical education teacher and coach at Coastal Montessori Charter School who is helping organize the walk. “We must come together as a community to raise awareness of mental health. This a growing concern that must not be ignored. We don’t want to lose another person and leave another family devastated in our community because of mental illness.”

For more information, contact Annunziato at 843-235-0413 or


Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 70 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.