UNC, family hope others learn from student's suicide

Posted August 9, 2010

— The death of a law student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last April prompted his family to team up with the university to help provide awareness about suicide prevention for other young adults.

Eric Bryant, 25, killed himself in his on-campus apartment. Family members said Bryant had been depressed since the death of his father, two years earlier.

“To the average observer, you wouldn't notice it,” said his uncle, Barry Bryant. “He carried on in life. He was very functional in school.”

The law school and Eric Bryant’s family saw a need for education about suicide – the third-leading cause of death among those between ages 15 and 24. They established an on-campus suicide education group called "Active Minds."

Student's death prompts suicide awareness group Student's death prompts suicide awareness group

“We want to educate our students on signs and what to look for,” said Kelly Podger Smith, assistant dean of student services.

"It's very effective when we have our students looking out for one another and helping each other."

“We want to create an atmosphere, especially on campus, where kids feel comfortable sharing and discussing vulnerable issues like being depressed or being lonely or being sad,” Barry Bryant said.

Podger Smith added, “Depression or anxiety -- those are things people don't share, but we want to create an environment where everybody's comfortable seeking help.”

To raise money for “Active Minds,” Eric Bryant’s family will hold a memorial golf tournament Aug. 16 at Wildwood Green Golf Club.

“We're incredibly proud of all of Eric's accomplishments in life, even though he only lived 25 years,” Barry Bryant said. “It (his life) should be remembered for all of his positive accomplishments.”


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  • WXYZ Aug 10, 2010

    Soliveyourlifethatthefearofdeathcanneverenteryour heart. Troublenooneabouttheirreligion;respect othersintheirview,anddemandthattheyrespect yours.Love your life,perfect your life,and beautify all things in your life.Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.Prepareanobledeathsongforthedaywhenyougo overthegreatdivide.Alwaysgive a word or a sign of salutewhenmeetingorpassing a friend, even a stranger, wheninalonelyplace. Showrespecttoall peopleandgroveltonone. Whenyouariseinthemorning givethanksforthefoodandforthejoyofliving. Ifyou seenoreasonforgivingthanks, thefaultliesonlyin yourself.Abusenooneandnothing,forabuseturnsthe wiseonestofoolsandrobsthespiritofitsvision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. Tecumseh

  • FREE-ESCO Aug 9, 2010

    Amanda Lamb's interview with Barry Bryant and Kelly Podger Smith UNC Student Services tonight about Eric Bryant and the upcoming golf tournament next Monday on August 16th was well done. The proceeds will go to improve awareness on UNC's campus about issues like mental health, depression, and suicide where Eric did his undergraduate and Law School studies.

    Eric James Bryant passed away on Good Friday, April 2nd of this year.

    Thank you in advance for your support of this event. You guys are the best!

    Eric Bryant Tournament FaceBook:!/group.php?gid=140716589278535&v=info&ref=ts

    In Rememberance of Eric Bryant FaceBook:

    Barry Bryant FaceBook:

    Thanks again for making this a part of your broadcast! WRAL ROCKS!