Suicide Education Outreach-What is it and How Does it Help?

By March 18, 2016FirstLink

As FirstLink’s main provider of Suicide Education Outreach for almost five years I have learned many things about our area teens. One of the most surprising was how many students have dealt with depression or suicide in some way. Sometimes it was helping a friend and sometimes it was a parent, sibling , or other family member that has experienced these issues. Often times, these experiences leave the students with many unanswered questions. Part of our presentation includes an opportunity for students to write down questions that they have about mental health, suicide or self-injury.
Another thing I have learned is that our students have a lot of questions about mental health, suicide, and self-injury. I believe that without the opportunity to ask questions in this way some of their questions would never be answered. Some students want to know what to do if a friend has told them they are suicidal, but has sworn them to secrecy. Some students want to know how to support someone who is experiencing depression or anxiety. When asking questions, students also have the opportunity to write their name down if they would like to speak with the school counselor. Over the years, we have helped connect dozens of students with their school counselor and assisted them in taking the first step to getting help.
In addition to answering students’ questions, our presentation also addresses myths about suicide, warning signs that someone they know may be at risk, and how to get help for some one that is thinking about suicide. Depending on the school, we speak with students in 7th, 8th, and/or 9th grades. We reach over 2,000 students every year. We hope that by taking the time to share this important information with our area young people that we are planting seeds that will help our community grow to be more aware of the issue of suicide and work to prevent it.