RBHS Promotes Suicide Awareness


Social workers and administration wearing “You matter” shirts.

Audrey Pekny , Story Editor

The Riverside Brookfield High School Student Services Department have hosted various activities throughout the week to raise awareness about mental health during Suicide Prevention week.

Over 3,000 students grades 9-12 attempt suicide everyday. National Suicide Prevention week is sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), founded in 1968 by clinical psychologist Edwin S. Sneidman. The AAS mission statement is “To promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it.” 

On Monday, stickers and ribbons were passed out to students in the morning and during all lunches to kickstart the week. One of the goals of the week was to break down the stigma of suicide and mental health, a potentially challenging task. “Think It Through Tuesday” gave students the opportunity to play a fact versus myth game to clear up common myths about suicide.

“There should not be a stigma surrounding suicide and mental health and we want students to know the services available to them through social workers and the school psychologists,” said Pushpa Winbush, one of the Riverside Brookfield school psychologists. 

During 5th hour on Wedneday, all students were invited to a presentation to learn more about self harm and suicide. Psychology teacher Angela Ziola felt it was important to take her psychology class to the presentation. 

“As a person it’s important because suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States for people as young as ten years old. Suicide is a crisis and it is beginning to affect adolescents,” said Ziola. “As the psychology teacher we learn about this kind of stuff and a symptom of clinical depression can be suicide or suicidal thoughts.” 

Thursday, students had the opportunity to leave encouraging messages and what they do for self-care during lunches. Many students participated in the various events held throughout the week and appreciated the positive and hopeful messages being spread throughout school.

“It shows that the administration and other faculty members at RB care about students and want to remind us that they are here for us and if I ever want to talk there is someone there,” said Maggie Simpson, a senior at RB. “I feel it really spread the message that Dr. Freytas and administration have our back.” 

During all lunches on Friday, students were invited to create inspirational cards and messages for other students to unify the student body and show the importance of supporting one another in any way possible. 

Throughout RB, there are many social workers and psychologists that can be reached through Student Services and email to help students struggling with a wide variety of issues. 

“Many issues with mental health are preventable, such as suicide,” Winbush said. “Talking about it is important and necessary. There is always someone here willing to talk about any issues going on.”