"I got a phone call that my son had shot himself," Steven Blackwood said. "The only symptoms my son shared with me was that he couldn't sleep at night, and didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. What college freshman doesn't say that? But looking back, I underreacted."
Alex's death propelled his father to make sure those suffering had somewhere to turn for help.
He and friends of the family started the Alex Blackwood Foundation for Hope, and now raise money for the Arkansas Crisis Center.
"We empower people," said Terri Rose, Public Relations Coordinator for the Arkansas Crisis Center. "We restore hope, it is our mission statement, it is something we do on every call, and it is something that 100% we believe in."
The Crisis Center's phone lines are open 24 hours a day - seven days a week - for people needing help with everything from depression to abuse.
With funds from the Blackwood foundation, the center wil be able to reach even more people - via the internet.
"By making that online support available we are saying 'it's OK,'" Blackwater said. "If they are googling depression and there is an offer to chat with an online professional - that would tell them 'I"m not the only one.'"
Arkansas ranks #11 in the United States for suicides. Blackwood hopes if people can talk to volunteers online they may be more willing to come forward - and less likely to take their lives.
"There are people dying every day in Arkansas - unncessarily," he said.
The Crisis Center reports almost 400 lives lost to suicide in the state last year - but say many go unreported.
Blackwwod hopes between the center's education out in the community, and the added support of online help, he and the Crisis Center can prevent the loss of promising lives.
The online support will be available in April at: http://www.nwacrisiscenter.org/.
If you need to reach the Crisis Center by phone for help - or to volunteer - call 1 (888) CRISIS2.