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‘Signs of Suicide’ program helps students spot troubling signs

Senior Christina Cordero reads through the suicide prevention brochure in her math class

Senior Christina Cordero reads through the suicide prevention brochure in her math class

Sarah Elbeshbishi

Sarah Elbeshbishi

Senior Christina Cordero reads through the suicide prevention brochure in her math class

Nana Osei Tutu and Hezekiah Likekele

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All Watkins Mill High School students watched a suicide awareness video during their math classes today then took part in a guided discussion as part of Montgomery County Public Schools’ “Signs of Suicide” program.

Students will watch a video entitled “Friends for Life.” MCPS is taking initiative on helping the mental health of students, knowing that the teenage years are some of the hardest times on students physically, emotionally and mentally. “It is really important and it was good that…we know what it is and how we can prevent it,” sophomore Anis Gribi said. 

Guidance counselors came to the math classes to introduce the video, give students information, and help answer any questions students had. The goal of showing the video was to show students that depression is a treatable mental illness that does not have to result in suicide. Suicide occurs often because of untreated depression, which students could get help for. Students learned how to recognize the symptoms in themselves and others, and how to reach out for help.

According to Centers for Disease Control, statistics show that suicide also is the second leading cause of death among 11– to 18-year-old youths in the United States. In the wake of the recent suicides among high schoolers, MCPS has introduced this new program to help students who might not know what their options are. 

In a memo to parents principal Carol Goddard said, “We know that the teenage years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions—challenging for teens, their parents/guardians, and educators. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (which is one of the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age than before.”

At the end of the session students were provided with handouts that include an “Act to Save a Life” student handout, a list of schools, and national resources to help students learn more about mental health and what they can do to help a friend or themselves to improve mental health.

The video “made me more aware and cautious of the steps I can take to prevent these things from happening to more people,” junior Lauren Flandrau said. 

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