State High Honors Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week

A student participating in the  Lights of Hope activity.
A student participating in the “Lights of Hope” activity.
Joslyn Corvin

During the week of Sept. 11, State High’s students and teachers joined together to spread awareness about suicide prevention. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is among the leading causes of death in America. 

Battles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts can be extremely challenging. For this reason, State College Area High School took the initiative to honor Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week.

Suicide is not an easy topic to talk about, which Elizabeth James, State High’s mental health physician and co-advisor of Mental Health Matters Club, explained. She mentioned that even the word can be triggering. Despite this, James emphasized the importance of talking about the issue.

“We care. We want you to be aware — and that’s why the activities are focused on hope,” James said. 

Throughout the week, the Mental Health Matters Club partnered with the Jana Marie Foundation to organize activities of hope for State High students. They had a table set up in the CEGL by the Roar Store during all lunches each day. Monday’s activity called,“Hopeful Butterflies,” allowed students to write something that gives them hope on a paper cut out butterfly. 

Junior Alena Angus participated in this activity during her lunch.

I mean, it made me feel good because I feel like it’s good to help others. And I think the school taking action, or having awareness for suicide prevention is really important,” Angus said. 

Similar activities centered around hope took place the following days. Tuesday was “Ribbons of Hope”, Wednesday was “Lights of Hope”, Thursday was “Symbols of Hope”, and finally, Friday was “Hopeful Creations”. 

“Symbols of Hope” painted by students (Joslyn)

Laying out at the table each day were yellow ribbons, symbolizing suicide prevention. Students could grab a ribbon to attach to their shirt, backpack, or even to take home and give to a loved one. There was also an array of candy and fidget toys which were free to take. 

The main purpose of this table was to have students participate in hopeful activities, taking just a moment out of their day to relax and do something fun. Students were also encouraged to ask questions and educate themselves and their peers about suicide prevention and how they can make a difference. 

Overall, this week of Suicide Prevention and Awareness was a great success at State High. There may only be a week, or a month dedicated to this cause, but it is important to continue to have these conversations every day.

“Suicide is not just something that is important for one week. It’s always important that we talk about and spread awareness,” James said. 

To end the week, the Mental Health Matters Club offered a colorful assortment of string to make friendship bracelets. Activities from previous days are now displayed on the bulletin board behind where the table was located and will stay there as a reminder to students to hold on to hope. 

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    SawyerSep 18, 2023 at 7:54 AM

    Great article! Glad that the school did this week and as a student I very much appreciated it. I love the note ending on hope in the last paragraph 🙂