After local teen’s death, experts work together to begin community’s healing process

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ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Some parents from Patrick Henry High School are working to help the Ashland community heal following the tragic death of Henry Morin. They saw the community grieving and stepped in to arrange free counseling for anyone. 

Morin’s death left a lasting, painful impact on the community. The teen died after jumping into a quarry in Albemarle County while hanging out with friends. 

“Just hearing the story and taking it in our minds is really horrific to think about,” Dr. Lisa Zoppetti, a Patrick Henry High School parent and EMDR psychotherapist, told 8News. “We saw the suffering around us.”

Dr. Zoppetti and her colleage Dr. Monica Klisz decided it was time to get their community the help they needed. She reached out to the Virginia Community Response Network. 

“[To] get help with the trauma, so they can get through the grieving process, and they too can live their lives with passion and purpose,” Zoppetti said. “From what I know, this is what Henry would want.” The Virginia Community Response Network is a group of volunteer psychotherapists who travel to communities and give crucial mental health support. 

“We really to try to help in areas where there’s not enough resources to deal with whatever the situation might be,” a member of the network, Kris SantaMaria, said. 

SantaMaria returned from Virginia Beach not long ago. She helped first responders of the recent mass shooting. 

“You see people go from feeling very distressed and overwhelmed,” she explained, “and images that won’t get out of their brains or negative thoughts about themselves. They go from that to feeling okay, ‘I’m okay now.'” 

The psychotherapists told 8News there was a good turnout on Tuesday, and they will be in the area until 9 p.m. on Wednesday. 

8News spoke with Morin’s father on June 6 after his son’s death. You can watch the full interview here. 

If you’re still looking for mental health resources following Henry Morin’s death, Dr. Zoppetti said she can direct you to counseling. You can reach her at dr.lisa.zoppetti@hushmail.com

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