In upcoming personalization periods on Monday, April 8 and Tuesday, April 9, MSD students will attend a presentation on suicide prevention and awareness. Mental health professionals from the Broward County Public Schools Suicide Prevention Program will be the main presenters along with peer counseling students at MSD.
In past years, the presentation was given to teachers who requested that their classes partake in the presentation. However, in wake of the deaths by suicide of alumna Sydney Aiello and sophomore Calvin Desir, Broward County and school leaders feel that the presentation has become a necessity for students to hear in order to deal with the situation.
The presentation will train students to recognize suicide signals, respond to suicidal situations and connect to helpful resources for both themselves and their peers. The organizers want to spread the message that peer support and kindness is very necessary during times like these.
“It is key that we are all looking out for each other,” Peer Counseling teacher Laura Roundtree said.
Mental health professionals and student leaders hope that the presentation will spread awareness and emphasize the importance of mental health. It is crucial for students and faculty to know that there are many forms of support and help available within the community and that no one should handle difficult times on their own.
“I want other students to realize that there are so many options to dealing with trauma and handling hard situations. No one is ever alone in what they are feeling,” Peer Counselor junior Allie Lazar said.
If a student is showing signs suggesting that they are struggling to cope with trauma or their own health, a mental health staff member will be sure to check up on the student to ensure that they are managing their distress in a healthy manner.
Students have the option to choose not to participate in the suicide awareness and prevention presentation with parent approval but it is highly recommended by staff, students and district leaders.