September Suicide Month: Creating a safer space and welcoming environment for each other



September is National Suicide Prevention Month, an annual campaign in the United States that informs people about the warning signs and resources regarding suicide.

Lily Ha, Sanchali Pandey, and Ava Nelson

September is Suicide Prevention Month. As teens, we may all face hardships from school, family, and friends and can find it hard to find the help and support we need.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults, and for every youth suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 others attempt suicide. 

Mental health is something that, in recent years, Neuqua has helped take initiative toward. In a high-achieving school, academic pressure is something that many students face, leading to the deterioration of mental health. As a result, Neuqua has support dogs and a club called You Matter that helps bring mental health to light. In early 2022, the school also held a discussion on mental health with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

 In the past two years, many students have felt their mental health get worse from COVID-19 to school. It is important to emphasize taking care of yourself and not overworking to a point of exhaustion. 

Many people tend to hesitate when reaching out for help. However, many people care about you and are willing to listen. All of Neuqua’s students and staff care deeply about each other and would do anything to help out their peers and fellow Wildcats. We also have social workers in the class houses, who make sure that every student has what they need to feel safe and happy. The stigma surrounding mental health—though measures are in place to reduce it—persists, and even when it may feel like you will be looked down upon for talking about how you feel, it is imperative that you do seek the help you need; talking with someone is always better than battling your illness by yourself.

We should also stress another important message: Be kind. Be kind to yourself and others. You do not, and never will know what another person is going through, just as they may not know for you. Let us try to make our friends’ and peers’ lives better. Just checking on them, or saying hi to someone in the hallway can be more than enough. It may sound cheesy, but people like it when others compliment them or wave to them. People like it when others ask how their day is going or whether they have anything they are looking forward to. The phrase, ‘treat others like you would want to be treated,’ gets used a lot, but that is for a reason. If you would hate to be treated in a bad way- which most of us would- do not treat others like that.  

Students at Neuqua have frequently dealt with academic pressures and a lack of self confidence. Sometimes it is hard for us to accept difficult situations and we tend to blame ourselves for what has happened. We have no reason to feel this way. Many Neuqua students might feel at their lowest sometimes and that feeling can turn to hopelessness. However, there are so many good things about our lives. When we have a bad day, or even a bad week or bad month, we start to feel as if our whole lives will drag on in the same way. But that is not true—it does get better, and you will find your way out. There are always reasons to live, even if we do not see them yet.

Sometimes, it is good to take a break. Teachers always want the best for their students, and when feeling overwhelmed, you have no reason to be afraid about reaching out to your teachers. If you need an extension on an assignment or extra help before a test, feel free to just shoot a quick email to your teacher and they will make sure you get what you need.

We have people who care about us, whether we realize it or not. And regardless of anyone or anything telling us otherwise, only we decide whether our lives have value and meaning. Your idea of self-worth should come from yourself, not anyone else. After all, we are our biggest cheerleaders.

Some ways to get help in school are, talking to your counselor or social worker. They can help in a variety of ways by teaching you new coping mechanisms, or just talking things out. You can also talk to a friend or trusted adult if you are struggling. If you need additional help out of school, you can see a therapist or use healthy coping mechanisms to help. Some healthy coping mechanisms include expressing yourself through art, listening to music, or even watching TV. There are thousands of healthy ways to work through your problems. In school, especially, we tend to place a heavy weight on our grades, which is only detrimental in the long run. It may seem like failing a test is the end of the world, but it is only a mere fraction of your life. How we do in school does not define us, nor who we are as people, which is infinitely more important. 8 years down the road, nobody will care if you failed honors physics. Rather, they will see who you are as a person and value you based on that.

Let us honor and think of all those who have lost their lives to suicide and those who have been struggling. Let us find the courage to reach out to others and help those in need.

Call 988 for the suicide and crisis lifeline for help.

You are worth it.