PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — One Petersburg barbershop owner is using his profession as a gateway to reach teens after his son tried taking his own life.

Carlos Brown, the father of 17-year-old Christian Brown, has worked as a barber for over a decade. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to impact the lives of youth, one haircut at a time, as he has been a mentor and father figure for the young men whom he provides a service.

His desire to help the youth, even more, comes after his son attempted suicide in March. His son was left with injuries to his jaw and lost some of his teeth along with his sight in one of his eyes.

Carlos Brown, (standing in his barbershop in Petersburg) father of 17-year-old Christian Brown (sitting). (Photo credit: Rolynn Wilson/ 8News)

The past few months of recovery have been tough for their family, but they have learned to appreciate the small things in life along the way and work to motivate others to do the same.

A Virginia Department of Health self-harm and suicide study found:

  • Self-harm emergency department (ED) visits and nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations are increasing. There is not a comparable increase in suicides among youth 9-18 years in Virginia.
  • The majority of self-harm ED visits (68%) and nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations (74%) among Virginia youth were female. However, the majority of deaths (71%) by suicide were male.
  • More than nine out of ten nonfatal self-harm hospitalizations among youth were due to drug poisonings, compared to 7% of all youth suicides. Guns were the most common cause of youth suicide (51%).
  • While the highest self-harm ED visit rate occurred in the Northwest region, the highest rate of self-harm hospitalizations and deaths by suicide occurred in the Central region.
  • Young Virginians were hospitalized for self-harm-related injuries for 1,588 days with over $13 million dollars in hospitalization costs in 2020.

In response to the study, the department has compiled a list of risk factors and signs for those at risk to look out for.