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'It's that critical moment that can save a life' | Atrium launches new mental health initiative

An employee inspired the campaign to help those struggling with mental health crises.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For Calvin Harvel, suicide is personal. He lost a close friend to suicide years ago.

"Any kind of distraction can bring your back to the here and now," he said.

The loss of a friend, and his own history with addiction, drove Harvel to create a simple clicking device that could serve as an easy, readily available tool to distract anyone focused on negative emotions, addiction, or self-harm.  

"It's very loud," he said. "It'll distract your mind very quickly."

Harvel is a peer support specialist at Atrium Health. Inspired by his idea, the hospital system is launching the "Click2Live" initiative and plans to give the clickers to any patients that might benefit from them.

"We've all been affected by COVID-19 in many different ways," Kate Penny, Zero Suicide Program Coordinator at Atrium Health, said. "And there's a lot of stress out there. And there's a lot of people who could benefit."

The clicker isn't meant to replace professional assistance or support from friends and family, but Harvel said it can help when someone needs it most.

"It's that critical moment that can save a life," Harvel said.

Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here. 

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