I want to start a suicide awareness day or project in our school. I want kids to know in my school that there is always someone here for them in every way. However I do not know how to start it. What should I say to my administrator to start it off? Should I get a PowerPoint or something like that to show them? I need to know how to get someone to know they’re always safe.
Ginger, I think it is wonderful that you would like to start a suicide awareness project in your school! Letting other kids in your school know there is someone there for them could make a huge difference in people’s lives. With any project like this, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily there are some resources out there that can help you make your case for the need for this type of program as well as provide you with instructions and materials for the project. If you go to your school administrators armed with statistics and concrete ideas for a program which won’t cost them any money, I hope they will be receptive. It might also be helpful for you to enlist one teacher or staff member at your school to offer their support to the project. You can start by saying that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 accounting for more than 12% of the deaths in that age range every year. After that, explain that there are organizations in place that offer programs to students free of charge to help teach about suicide awareness and where they can go for help.
In terms of resources for a program, the Trevor Project has their Lifeguard Workshop Program, where volunteers in select cities run workshops. You can find out more here: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/LWP If you’re not in one of those cities, educators can request a Survival Kit with various brochures, a video, and instructions for how to run a workshop. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is also a great organization that can provide some help for your project. They have a kit that they provide to schools as well. There is also a page of links geared toward students who are looking to start a Gay-Straight Alliance: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/student/index.html
Again, I think it’s terrific that you’re looking to create this type of program for your school, and I wish you luck and support in doing so! Thank you for your willingness to help others.