National Suicide Prevention Week, from Sept. 9 to 15, is a week to inform communities across the country about the identifying signs of suicidal behavior. The goal is not only to talk to the public, but also to help those who need support and guidance.
Mt. Hebron High School staff worked to make the school aware of suicide prevention week through the use of posters and an announcements displayed to the school. However, some people were still uninformed.
Math teacher Ms. Michelle Vealey said, “It would be great if there were something we could do in each class or at least in one class a day during that week to kind of draw attention [to it].”
There are different occasions during the year where students will learn about suicide. The Math department highlights suicide awareness and prevention on Pi Day in the spring, and health classes are required to educate students as well.
Suicide has not only had a large impact on high school students, but also on the middle school students. It has impacted children as young as 10 to 17 years old. In opposition to other age groups, the suicide rates for this age group have been increasing, according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Suicide is known as one of the top two causes of death among individuals around the ages of 10 to 24.
Many people have taken their own lives around the country, and even in Mt. Hebron’s community, which suffered the loss of recent graduate Sincere Melvin this past summer.
Teachers are also making a point to raise awareness about the subject. Math teacher Ms. Sara Tagget said, “I think we need to start talking about mental health and mental illness like we do cancer and other physical illnesses, and we need to start in elementary school.”
This is not the first time that this idea has been introduced. In Virginia, education about mental health has been encouraged among students from seventh to tenth grades, but as of 2018, school teachers are required to talk about it during the health and gym class.
In New York, they also decided to make a change by having educators teach mental health. Teachers trained with counselors and social workers to prepare to teach students about mental health and anything that may happen.
With mental health matters on the rise, students and teachers are working to become more educated about the topic, using their resources to become informed about what the signs of mental health are.