Teens Talk Suicide Prevention at Ballard Memorial High School
This month is suicide prevention month. Suicide, a difficult topic to talk about because of its stigma. How do we break the stigma surrounding suicide? Experts say talking is a way to start. But is there a conversation happening? This talks is happening at Ballard Memorial High School.
Choir connects grades 10th, 11th and 12th at Ballard Memorial High School. Sophomore Brenden Fletcher, Junior Michaela Nutt and Seniors Jasmine Shackles and Marisa Gonzalez are joined not only in song, but by a deeper, darker link. " I just felt like at one point everything was my fault. I was just apologizing to everybody," said Fletcher. " It hurts whenever somebody tells me they want to kill themselves," explained Nutt. All four teens are linked by the topic of Suicide. " I tried overdosing. And then I tried drowning myself," said Gonzalez. "During that time period I felt down and I had one time wanted to kill myself," said Shackles.
Alarming numbers from the CDC, in 2014 suicide was the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34-years-old. It can be hard to reach out. "To tell people what’s going on without the fear of them saying, oh, you’re just saying that. Life’s not that hard on you," said Shackles.
Life can be just that difficult. And risk factors include depression, bullying, alcohol and other substance disorders, hopelessness, impulsive or aggressive tendencies or a previous suicide attempt. Four Rivers Behavioral Health Clinical practitioner, Danelle Hamblin says what may seem small to you could be catastrophic. "With the crisis line I think many people are afraid that their current situation is not severe enough to make that call," Hamblin said.
It could be a life saving call for some. Others, individual counseling seats puts them in Hamblin’s office. Are there clues to possible suicidal thoughts? Yes. "It’s picking up on how they’re talking, how they have changed daily routines and activities, are they withdrawing," Hamblin said.
When should the topic of suicide prevention be addressed? As soon as possible. These students feel Ballard Memorial High School is going about it the right way. "They talk in groups. they don’t point fingers or anything like that. Everything is confidential too. It feels really good to be able to go and talk to them," Gonzalez said.
Shining a light on suicide prevention may be the first step to helping the person next to you pull through their own darkness.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts and need someone to listen there is a number for you to call, the suicide prevention lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-talk (8255).
Happening Saturday September 10 is the "Out Of The Darkness" community walk. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is joining with Kentucky Oaks Mall for the event. Registration is at 9:15 Saturday morning. The walk will last from 10 A.M. To 12 P.M.. This is the first "Out Of The Darkness" community walk in Western Kentucky