Suicide Awareness Week
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Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for students between 12 and 18 years of age. Furthermore, there is an average of over 5,000 daily suicide attempts, as stated by The Jason Foundation.
The numbers may be frightening, but there are ways that can help save many of these people. A few weeks ago, representatives from the Jason Foundation came to English classes to inform students how to recognize and prevent suicidal behavior. More information on the presentation can be found in Lilly Morgan’s article on suicide prevention in the first February edition of The Bruin News.
SCA (Student Council Association) will have a suicide awareness week February 13-17 leading up to the Winter dance, Saturday the 18. Each day of the week will start with a suicide statistic read on the morning announcements to help students recognize the impact that suicide has on the population. During lunches students and teachers can also sign a card saying, “I will be a friend and listen,” on a bulletin board to show those who may be having suicidal thoughts that they have people they can open up to. To visually promote awareness, the ad design classes will make a series of five posters to display around the school.
“Suicide is an important and sensitive issue that many people forget about, but one that is very serious. Through SCA we want to raise awareness and to show people it is a problem that cannot be ignored,” said Noah Mertes, SCA Secretary.
It has been found that four out of five youths who will attempt suicide provide clear “warning signs.” These signs include: direct or indirect suicide threats, past attempts, depression, and final arrangements. All of these signs should be taken seriously, and even having a friend that will listen may make the difference to someone who is struggling, according to The Jason Foundation.
“There are five steps to help someone who is contemplating suicide and showing these warning signs: ask, keep them safe, be there, help them stay connected, and follow up. Each day of awareness week will be dedicated to one of these days,” said Neha, SCA President.
For instance, a day dedicated to “ask” will have an announcement about the theme of the day, and then at lunches and throughout the day, students will be able to access a handout and other resources that will help them figure out how to “ask” someone if they’re okay and if they need help in a polite way.
Outside of school, SCA plans to raise money for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by holding a bake sale outside of Moe’s on February 6 and holding percentage nights at PK’s, Cookout, Moe’s, and Chipotle. They also will ask fans buying tickets at the final regular season home basketball game, on February 13, if they would like to add a dollar to their ticket to contribute to suicide prevention efforts. In return, contributors will receive a raffle ticket that could win them a free smoothie or pizza.
“I think it is a great idea to have a suicide awareness week to raise money and awareness for the purpose of protecting our friends and family from something as tragic as suicide,” said Catie Walters, senior.
Suicide awareness week’s purpose is not to depress students, but to inform them of the severity of the issue and how they can help identify and prevent potential suicides.