Suicide Prevention Month Spreads Awareness for Students


Courtesy of GUIDE, Inc

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, during which mental health organizations aim to raise awareness regarding depression and suicide.

In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, suicide infographics were shared all over social media to spread awareness. (Courtesy of The Depression Project)

September is National Suicide Prevention month and with the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayo Clinic suggests that individuals with existing mental health conditions may worsen during this time.  

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Illinois, and on average, one person dies by suicide every six hours in the state. 

AFSP says that there are three types of suicide warning signs: changes in speech, behavior, and mood. Feeling hopeless, withdrawing from activities, and irritability

are all signs that an individual may be suicidal. 

“It is important to make sure that you take your friend’s warning signs of suicide and suicidal ideation seriously. If your friend is at immediate risk, you must go to your parents right away or call 9-1-1,” said Ms. Jennifer Cave, social worker. 

Strong Minds Bring Change is a club at Central that raises mental health awareness by making different activities to inform students about mental health and giving different tips to reduce anxiety and stress. 

“You never know who’s struggling with it [mental illness], so simply being able to talk about it in a neutral setting with friends like lunch, without any bias or stigma around it could make people more comfortable talking to their friends about it,” said Sarah Kizior, senior and SMBC club member. 

SMBC club’s slogan, “Notice, Care, Help,” is a way for students to check in on their family and friend’s mental health. 

According to Kizior, “‘I notice you’ve been feeling down,’ ‘I care about you,’ ‘I want you to find help,’” are all examples of how the slogan can be used to start a conversation with someone who may be suicidal. 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the social work department has expressed concern for the mental health of Central students. 

“Students lost consistent access to friends and adult support. I’m finding that adolescent girls are feeling more lonely and isolated than before,” Cave said.   

The social work department has created virtual offices for students to use to reach out during E-learning. Students may use this link to access resources, contact social workers, and learn more about mental health. 

“Being at home and students not being able to see their peers as much has impacted the mental health of my friends, which is why it’s so important to look out for each other during these times.” Lizzy Cunningham, Hinsdale Central Senior.

If a student learns that a peer may be suicidal, it is important to get help right away.

 “You must tell your trusted adult so they can help your friend. You cannot do this alone so please don’t keep this information to yourself,” Cave said. 

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, the National Suicide Lifeline provides a 24/7 hotline for anyone thinking about suicide or in need of help at 1-800-273-8255.