*This post was written by Foothill Technology High School student, Hannah Yale.
For a long time, I wanted to have a suicide prevention event held at my high school. It has taken me several months to make it happen, but today was the first week of Foothill’s Suicide Prevention Week. One of the main components of this week long event is the sharing of anonymous stories by past or current students focusing on their experiences with suicide. This was inspired by a project launched at a high school in Michigan. They titled it “Thirteen Reasons Why Not” to combat the newly released Netflix series about a girl who commits suicide and leaves thirteen tapes explaining why. Our project at Foothill mimics the idea of tape recordings by sharing the stories using the loudspeaker. Here is the script that I read from this morning during our daily announcements:
“Good morning Dragons! I’m Hannah Yale. This week is Suicide Prevention Week at Foothill. I teamed up with ASB to organize this event because I noticed that this is an important subject that is not often enough discussed in a school environment. It is critical that we address this issue and the factors that can cause it, such as bullying, abuse, and mental illness.
“Each day this week, I will be reading to you an anonymous story from a past or current Foothill student talking about their experiences with suicide.
“When I was 14, I was a victim of child on child sexual assault. I hurt from it every day, so when I was 15 I decided that it would be better if I ended my life. I tried to hang myself in my own living room. My parents found me, and I was sent to a treatment center. It is something I will never forget, but I’m so much better now. It’s because of my mom and my friends that I got better because they were positive and helpful even when I messed up. They still loved me and taught me to love myself.
Sometimes I still get urges to hurt myself, but I don’t act on them anymore. I’m 2 years self harm free now. If you’re struggling, I just want you to know that it really does get better.
“Remember, you are not alone in this fight. Hotline numbers are hung up throughout school bathrooms, and your counselors are always here for support.”
After I finished and went back to class, a few people told me I had done a good job on the announcements. One of my friends said that most people were chatting during at the beginning, but the room went dead silent once I started speaking. I am hoping that this means my message is getting across.
This is only the beginning.