Once suicidal, Iowa teen graduates today

Want to see what courage looks like?

This is what courage looks like. It’s Morgan Hubbard of West Des Moines, Iowa, sharing her story of her journey with depression. She graduates from high school today.

Having survived a suicide attempt, she wants to be a nurse.

“I just keep telling myself I’ll be in the ER one day, working for them and I’ll see someone who has the same problem as me, and I’ll actually be able to connect with them and help them,” she tells the Des Moines Register.

Morgan started noticing a change in herself in seventh grade. She was withdrawn and sad. She didn’t want to hang out with friends or go to school or keep up with dance and soccer.

Her mom thought she was just going through puberty. This will pass, she told her daughter.

But they knew Morgan needed help when she wouldn’t leave her bed for days at a time. She stayed in her room and cried through the pain.

She began to see a therapist, but Morgan didn’t connect with the woman.

As a freshman, she began cutting her wrists and later tried to overdose on pain medication.

The bullying and name calling on top of her declining mental health were just too much. “It really tore me down,” she said.

A school counselor suggested Morgan try Walnut Creek Campus. The counselor thought she could benefit from the alternative program’s smaller class sizes and one-on-one instruction.

She credits a horse — several horses, actually — for her recovery. At an alternative school she was introduced to animal therapy.

“They can tell when you’re scared of them. They can tell when you’re happy. They can tell when you’re sad. And they react to that same thing,” she said. “It helps that I learned a lot about them. I like the way they look, the way they move.”

The way they help a kid graduate.

Related: Stop. Listen. Talk. West Fargo family hopes to help others avoid suicide tragedy (Fargo Forum)