Suicide Prevention: You Can Be The Change

PAHS students wearing blue received an award for showing their support for  Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is one of the main reasons students attempt suicide.

PAHS students wearing blue received an award for showing their support for Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is one of the main reasons students attempt suicide.

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          The walls are caving in. You cannot escape your own mind. Sadly, many students experience this feeling at one point in their lives. Everyone is unique, and each individual approaches situations differently. According to the American Association for Suicidology “1.1 million suicide attempts were made in 2016.”

          “Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States”, according to auspices.org. On September 23, 2019 PAHS held a suicide prevention assembly. During this gathering Ms. Erin Griffin informed students about signs to look for, ways to react, and what trusted adults to tell. “There will be a lot of withdrawal… like not participating in their sports, grades dropping or if they stop caring about their appearance. If this does happen, don’t make them feel as if they are any different; be there for them to listen and understand. Please make sure to contact a teacher, parent or a trusted adult.”

          Everyone going through this experience has a reason. That reason is a crisis in their minds, whether it is bullying or an abusive relationship. 

         For many students the catalyst is bullying. Channing Smith was bullied by his own classmates until he couldn’t take it anymore.

           On September 22, 2019 Channing Smith, a 16 year old Tennessee citizen, passed away after suicide. He made a call for help; his final post on Instagram was a cry for support. Smith said,”I really hate how I can’t trust anyone because those I did was so fake. Bye.” 

          There are always signs; if a friend of yours is having changes in a personality, inflicting self harm or threatening suicide, don’t be afraid to speak up. This could save someone’s life. These could be their cries for help.

          For students with these feelings, staying anonymous can have a sense of comfort, as there is no feeling ashamed or embarrassed of your emotions. The Safe To Speak Up app allows students to reach out for help in that manner. Our district started using and promoting this app last year. Mrs. Tiffany Hummel principal said, “The app is working; students are using it. We have had several referrals since the app has rolled out. It is a good way to anonymously report an issue.” There will be a “refresher” assembly on the app for the student body on Thursday October 10th.

          Anyone could be having these thoughts, including others in your school. Sophomore Jane Doe from PAHS was brave enough to share her story. “There isn’t a certain trigger. It just happens. You could be having the best time of your life, but the thoughts are still in the back of your head. I understand I isolated myself for years before I couldn’t take it anymore. But it does get better. It may not seem like it now, but nevertheless it truly does.” Doe said she hopes by sharing her story it can help others who are feeling as she did.

          Assemblies can be held, and apps can be used. However, you are the change that can be made. Just by looking for signs or simply asking someone if they are okay, it can make the difference. If you feel this way, help is only one phone call away. The number for the Suicide Prevention is (800)273-8255. Remember it does get better, and no matter how much you think otherwise, someone will be there to help if you ask for it.

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