HOSA selling bracelets for National Suicide Prevention Month

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sends a strong message, 'End the Stigma and Proactively Seek Prevention'


Sarah Higgins and Jaydan Barr, Reporters

September is National Suicide Prevention month and it is important to have empathy for those who are suffering, have suffered, or have lost a loved one to suicide. To help get the word out, students from the Health Science Academy are selling bracelets for 50 cents during all three lunch shifts this week.

As the number of suicide related deaths seem staggering, it is an issue that we should tackle more than just once a year, in fact, it is a preventable tragedy, if we do one thing: end the stigma and proactively seek prevention. It is a topic that hurts to talk about, but as the second leading cause of death for teens, it is an important hard talk. Many students of Rolla High School have the unfortunate heartbreak of losing a friend or loved one to suicide. No one will ever know for sure why someone takes his or her own life, but loved ones naturally want to honor the love and passion in memory of their loved one, and to learn ways to help others to prevent the loss of another amazing human.

According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Every 28 seconds someone attempts to take their own life.” Some of the more common reasons cited are bullying, constant negativity from their community, untreated mental health issues, and routine breaking, or big changes happening.

As a school, community, state, as a nation we can learn how to help those suffering and teach the signs to be able to tell if someone needs help, and most importantly end the stigma. Anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts should feel no shame in reaching out. Friends, family, counselors, and teachers are great resources, but there is also a hotline that you can call/ text. You will not be judged for not being okay. You are human. You have emotions that sometimes cannot be controlled. You are not an outcast nor a burden. You are stronger than you realize. Ending the stigma means that we all recognize the struggle and can encourage people to speak up about needs and get help. It’s okay to not be okay.

Young people, especially, may fear that making a call to the hotline may get them in trouble. One Rolla High School student shared experience with using the powerful resource.

“I had thoughts of lost hope and for awhile considered a life threatening decision. After speaking to this hotline number, I was given given hope and comfort. One afternoon, when horrible thoughts came again, I called the hotline number. On the other line was what sounded like an older man. He answered in a nice, soft tone and simply asked how I was feeling, and offered some resources. The most important thing for anyone to remember is that the hotline doesn’t cause the caller to get into trouble, it simply helps connect the caller to resources,” the student said.

To seek help, call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). There is also a texting hotline, text CONNECT to 741741.