Suicide Prevention Month

Bring Awareness

Ryliegh Martin , Writer, Editor

Suicide Prevention Month, happening this September opens up opportunities for students to reach out and get resources. This month is designated to convey awareness to students about the mental struggles that lurk around the halls at school, so they can learn prevention against them. 

As well, to achieve the mindset that emotional health is just as important as physical health. 

“I think, you know it’s just like your physical health, people going in and getting checkups and making sure everything is ok,” Mrs.Davis, counselor and student advocate, said, “People need to do that as well for their emotional health.”  

Clinical depression is a serious health problem; it can lead to issues in behavior, physical health, appearance, social activity, academic performance and decisions and pressures of life. Furthermore, it will affect over 19 million people this year. More specifically, depression hits 3 to 5 percent of the teen population which is continuing to increase.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents,” Mrs.Davis said. “And it’s preventable. That’s the thing that’s so sad, the number one is accidents; which could be preventable. But I think to do things like our SOS program, where we talk about reaching out and getting support when they need it, [we should] make that the norm rather than struggling in silence.”

Students may feel depressed for reasons out of their control, leading to conflicts between mental and physical health. Research has linked inheritance to depression, meaning it can run in families and affect the child as much as it has the parent in the past years.

“The other thing that’s not always talked about: the biological factor,” Mrs.Davis said. “So, depression can be genetic. If your parents or grandparents have struggled with that, it exposes you to some depression and a lot of people don’t know their family history.”

Likewise, students may only have one episode of depression or may have multiple. It becomes a big issue when they can’t control the stress, or figure out how to problem solve in a situation; leading to causes of getting rid of the pain or rather focusing on something else entirely. 

“I had a student not that long ago that was talking about the frustration because people were saying suicide was a selfish act,” Mrs.Davis said. “I don’t think it’s selfish. I think it’s people searching for an answer to get relief in the wrong ways.”

In light of these issues and feelings of unrest, many programs like SOS, Hope Squad, ACT, Crime Stoppers, Friends for Life and hotlines are there to prevent those feelings from reaching a point where a student decides to end their life. 

“Anytime through the SOS program, we talk about acknowledge, care and tell,” Mrs.Davis said. “Letting them know that they are valued and they don’t have to feel that way or have an option to find that trusted adult to share that information with.”

Clinical depression and suicide reach all age groups. It’s not just happening for teens, nor is it “normal” to feel moody, concluding that it’s not depression. It could very well be depression and is not an opportunity to gain attention, but a serious health disorder. Talking to friends, or family to hit the root of what is going on is important and encouraged. 

“People [should] think who would be their go-to person if they were worried about somebody,” Mrs.Davis said. “You know whether it be a coach, teacher, parent, pastor, just who would be somebody that they could turn to if they were worried about a friend.” 

Students who are struggling with depression and are unsure of how to tell someone, or are afraid because of what society puts in their heads, shouldn’t feel that way. Students need to be able to have that same space, that security so they can take the steps to prevent the life-ending moment from happening. 

“That’s why doing awareness education is so important,” Mrs.Davis said. “To talk about the fact that it’s a treatable issue and if people felt comfortable talking about it, they’d get the support they need, that keeps them from getting to the point where they are thinking of ending their life.”

Therefore, resources have the biggest impact on the students’ life. The right support, help and encouragement to seek out the possibility of ending depression are why suicide prevention month is here. To keep students from being so pushed back into a dark state where they feel nothing more than hopeless, to being brought to the attention of therapists and counselors. This month is to bring awareness and resources to not only those who are struggling but those who are willing to speak up, stand up and help a friend out.

“I think the biggest thing is not being able to manage that stress, whether it’s things happening on social media, that maybe they aren’t reaching out and sharing about,” Mrs.Davis said. “Or trying to problem solve and it just continues to escalate, I think it’s not having the resources to try to take care of themselves before it gets to the point where they are having those thoughts of self-harm.”