Such were the colorful words used by CMHS students to describe the suicide prevention assemblies that took place on Wednesday of Yellow Ribbon Week. The events were hosted by licensed clinical social workers from the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a suicide prevention center.
The assemblies provided several facts about suicide, its causes, and its symptoms.
“It was interesting how they defined [suicide] as a disease,” says Marcie Mathieu, a junior.
There was also a story told of a girl named Phoebe Prince who was bullied to the point of suicide. Another tragic story was about a speaker’s brother, whose drawings about death were discovered too late.
The speakers emphasized that if you have a friend considering suicide, it is a secret you CANNOT keep, no matter how close they are to you.“Would you rather have a mad friend?” Allison, one of the speakers, asked the audience. “Or a dead one?”
Despite (or because of) the discomfort suicide can arouse, is it okay to have students be exposed to such topics?
The event was not mandated, but many of the students felt obligated to go to the assembly because their teachers had brought them. There were also several students who really truly did not want to attend the assembly due to the deep sensitivity of the topic or because of the particular class they were in when they went. On top of not wanting to go, there were parts of the assembly that may have been uncomfortable for some students. For instance, a speaker asked students to yell out the word “suicide” at the top of their lungs. Many did not.
Some students did not take the assembly seriously, and for others, the assembly was not serious enough.
“If it’s something serious like suicide, the assembly should be serious, too,” says Kyle Barnett.
On the other hand, very many students said attendance should be mandated, especially because it could save someone’s life. Kirsten Gyorgy, a freshman, felt that “students really need to know what suicide is all about.” According to Mr. Howell, who brought his classes to the assembly, every student gained something from the assemblies, whether they wanted to be there or not.
The event had both its positive and negative effects on the CMHS students, but many felt it was necessary because people needed to be aware of the situation. Sometimes people need to see and accept difficult truths, especially something as sensitive as suicide, because it could potentially be lifesaving.