Throughout the week of Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students had the opportunity to attend a voluntary suicide prevention training seminar during their personalization classes. The purpose of the seminar was to increase awareness and educate students on the warning signs of a potential suicide either within themselves or others.
The 30-minute presentation was conducted throughout campus by MSD’s peer counselors and various counselors from Legacy Healing Center. Mental health professionals from the Broward County Public Schools Suicide Prevention Program developed the presentation as a way to increase awareness and disprove myths regarding suicide.
Restrictions were implemented to prevent students from feeling uncomfortable over any topics discussed. Specific stories or details regarding suicide were not shared due to these restrictions. Each presentation was conducted within a small group setting to focus on helping and healing others.
“Having it [the presentation] done with a small group made it feel more personal,” junior Alexis Tracton said. “Other people in my class took the presentation more seriously.”
The brief presentation taught students useful information as to how to connect with community-based resources such as the newly developed community wellness center “Eagles Haven” and approved crisis hotlines that can be reached via talk or text.
Peer counselors explained certain risk factors which may lead to warning signs of suicide such as a recent divorce of a student’s parents, loss of a loved one, break-up, etc. In addition, the LGBTQ+ community is known as the most high risk demographic prone to suicide. Their presentation concluded with a video titled “Instructions for a Bad Day,” which depicted positive affirmations and visuals of the world.
“The information given was very useful,” junior Daria Lenova said. “Now I am going to be much more attentive towards my friends and their actions.”
Although this presentation is given every year, it is important for students to be reminded of the signs of suicide and taught ways of handling these tough issues properly. Students are encouraged to alert a trusted adult immediately once signs are noticed.