Why is school funding important to you? Suicide Prevention in School Districts

Ann Smith

September is suicide prevention month. Many schools spread awareness in many different ways. At my school, they devoted every Friday to hosting suicide prevention during our advisories all of September. For the first Friday of the month, they had us color paper hands to promote connection. One of the nearby teachers joined our class because they were not comfortable speaking about suicide. My advisory teacher put on an “anti suiced playlist” the school had given her and we got to coloring. Most of the discussions were nothing related to suicide, however, one person mentioned that his uncle died from suicide. Our advisory teacher then asked him, “if your uncle would have felt connection do you think he would have killed himself?” The second she said that I jolted my head over. That is not something you should be saying to a student. People can commit suicide while still having connections to people. My advisory teacher is one of the nicest teachers I have ever had. She is also not educated on suicide prevention; learning from the same presentation we did. By the way, only one statistic appeared on the PowerPoint they showed us – “suicide is a leading cause of death.” It is not my teacher’s fault for not knowing the culture around suicide prevention. We need a certified professional to talk to about serious major topics like suicide. I am not suggesting that we hold assemblies. We need small groups where a professional can be present. Not only that, but talking about suicide can be very triggering and people should not be immediately thrown into these groups.

My father has struggled with suicide and depression. My family has been very outspoken about these issues. When I went home and told my mother about the story above she was disappointed. Schools need to do better at funding necessary mental health programs. Teachers do not get paid enough to deal with all that is put upon them.

The next week they gave us pamphlets on how to deal with mental health. Reading over one of these pamphlets, they have a look at very easily checkable misinformation. One of the things they suggested was meditating if you had suicidal thoughts. If the person writing this had ever suffered from suicidal thoughts they would know that being in your head increase suicidal thoughts. If a simple google search can prove these suicide facts wrong, why are they giving these pamphlets to students?

Schools need more funding to support mental health and especially suicide awareness. It is not okay to have an untrained teacher talking about such a sensitive topic. Without adequate funding, no strives are being made to improve suicide awareness in schools. As much as coloring a hand may be fun, learning from professionals would better the population’s understanding of suicide. Youth nowadays are taking this serious issue and making it into a joke. Schools need funds to truly address the basic needs of students for them to keep on living.

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