September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is a serious topic that Temescal Canyon High School wanted to put a light on. From Sept. 11 through Sept. 15, TCHS spread awareness for suicide prevention by simply doing fun activities at lunch, creating caring posters around school and showing their appreciation through the daily news.
Suicide is a serious topic that doesn’t get enough support and attention that it needs. In 2016, a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention showed that nearly 43,000 Americans die by suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 44 and younger. It is also estimated that 2017 will have an even higher rate.
At TCHS, there has not been a suicide incident and TCHS would like to keep it that way. Each year, TCHS has a speaker during a week that is for spreading awareness and showing that every life matters, for suicide prevention. This year was no different. To start the day off with a positive vibe, TCHS had student leaders greeting their peers and waving high at the main gates.
The Daily Announcements from Titan TV were shown every morning, essentially to express that everyone’s life is valuable and that if one has thoughts of suicide they should call the suicide hotline. Though it was simple, it helped bring a sense of caring
Students made posters to put around school that included a positive quote and the hotline number. The students also held fun activities at lunch, such as a hula-hoop competition. It was all for the students to make everyone smile and be happy. At first, I thought the school was overdoing it, but I realized that you can’t “overdo” anything when trying to save a life, even if it’s just one life.
The last thing the school did for Suicide Prevention Week was present speakers from a campaign called “Keep Breathing.” The campaign was made to encourage self-love, self-honest, artistic expression and suicide prevention. They share their story to let other know that they are not alone.
The main spokesperson, Ronnie Angelou, speaks to the students as equals, not as their superiors. He tells the students the story of his life and how he himself was close to attempting suicide, but found support and got better. He relays to the students that all lives matter and that one shouldn’t go through life alone.
I myself had a friend once who was suicidal due to his past haunting him. He was a kind person and seemed to smile even though he wasn’t happy. He eventually told his parents and got better. I don’t think I did anything to help, such as calling his parents or telling someone, but he still thanked me for just being his friend throughout the years. I realized it’s the simple things that can make an impact, you don’t have to be the hero of the story, but you don’t have to be a bystander either.
Suicide is a serious topic and what TCHS did with “Suicide Prevention Week,” though simple, seems to help. What “Please Keep Breathing” and TCHS do is to try to help the most they can, simply just doing a week with the theme or telling a story that someone may relate to. It’s all not that crazy, but it is enough to get across the message that suicide is a serious issue and that if you’re ever feeling suicidal there are a lot of people that care. No one should have to take their own life away.
If you’re feeling suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.