*This post was written by Foothill Technology High School student, Hannah Yale.
Today was our second day of Suicide Prevention Week at Foothill. It was in my original plan to hang up motivational posters around the school, as well as putting relevant hotline numbers in school bathrooms. Today, we put that plan into action.
During my first class of the day, art, I began making some posters for the cause. One of them had, “your story isn’t over yet,” painted across it, while other read, “it’s okay if the only thing you can do today is breathe.” Unfortunately, those were the only two I could make, but the ASB class painted more posters, and they were hung up later in the day.
Then came the time for the morning announcements. I was ready with another story to be shared. Here is the script I read from:
“Good morning Dragons! It’s Hannah Yale. I’m back with another anonymous story for suicide prevention week.
“When I was a junior I lost my closest friend. At the time, she meant everything to me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I was very much in love with her. My parent’s divorce was an all-consuming hell for me then, and even though she had her own set of issues, she gave me hope that things could be better, because whenever I was with her I was happy. But I made the mistake of building my world around her. One day after school she called me and said she needed a break from our relationship so she could figure out some of her own issues. I told her of course, without having any idea what I was getting myself into. Months went by without any word from her. I was desperate to know why she had left me, and I never got any closure.
“Junior year was the most suicidal I have ever been. I had lost my only source of hope so violently, and by my own hands, that I thought I didn’t deserve to live. I cannot tell you how many times I thought about suicide. I never made plans or took action, but my suicidal ideations completely took over my thought process, and I would often deprive myself of sleep, which felt like the only thing I could control anymore. The only reason I didn’t act on my ideations was my friends. I thought so much about how terribly my absence would devastate them, and even though I wanted to hurt myself, I didn’t want to hurt anyone else ever again if I could help it. So during my junior year, I stayed alive for my friends. And thank god I did.
“Remember, there are hotline numbers hung up around the school, and you can always come to your counselors for support. Thank you.”
It was very empowering to walk around school that day, seeing posters I had inspired and hearing people talk about something positive I had done. When I went to the restroom during the day, I saw that people had already taken from our hotline number flyers. It made me very happy to know that I was reaching people and that they were getting the help they needed.
I think the reason that this feels so powerful and important to me is because I am giving people the resources that I didn’t have when I needed them. It’s very much like that inspirational quote that you see on Pinterest: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” That is exactly what I am doing, and to be able to actively see the difference I am making, well, it feeds my soul.