Suicide Awareness: Sharing some stories

Seems several books I’ve read lately, a movie I stumbled upon last weekend and an article shared with me by a student yesterday all have to do with suicide. I just looked it up, and Suicide Awareness month was September, but should we really lose focus the rest of the year? No. I work with teenagers, and this morning it just feels like there is a reason it’s all come at me in this short span of time.

I won’t spend a lot of time saying what needs to be said more often: suicide is too final. Those contemplating suicide are likely experiencing a narrowed focus, where options appear more limited than they are. This is why folks say to talk to someone. The someones – the right someones – can help you widen the perspective, help you see things from a different point of view and realize that there is more to this life than you are presently capable of seeing. You might have to go through a few someones to find the right someones, but life is worth doing that.

I’ve reviewed a couple books I’ve read recently that skillfully point these truths out: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Last weekend’s movie was About Alex, a movie that didn’t get great reviews, but I found it to have that ring of truth about friends and the ups and downs they go through. These guys and girls met at college and come back together for a few days to try to help their friend Alex, who is going through some stuff, so their shenanigans are college level and beyond.

Having been a teenager once upon a time and having had a teenager share this article with me yesterday about surviving suicide, as she mentioned having had a friend go through something similar, I know for a fact that it’s something many teens face in one way or another, and it just doesn’t do to sweep it all under the rug. Teens, anyone, need to feel the emotions, experience what they can through other people’s stories, be they real or fictional (who are quite often based on actual), in order to come as close as possible to experiencing without the actuality of experiencing, because suicide is just too final.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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