LBUSD uses Suicide Prevention Month to encourage year-round vigilance


Dan Meyers

(“Don’t give up. You are not alone, You matter signage on metal fence” by Dan Meyers, licensed under Unsplash License).

Madison Duong and Brooke Lattin

Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 10-14 and the 3rd leading cause of death for individuals 15-24 in 2022, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Sept. 4 through Sept. 10 was National Suicide Prevention Week, and Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day, which are all part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is always a great opportunity to revisit the importance of building awareness around risks and warning sides for suicide.

“Warning signs include heightened feelings of hopelessness or being a burden to others, talking, joking or posting online about life not being worth living, extreme sadness, anger or irritability, planning or researching ways to die, withdrawal from others, saying or posting ‘goodbye’ messages, giving away possessions, erratic or disorganized behavior, changes in substance use, and trying to seek means to self-harm,” said LBHS’s Director of Social and Emotional Support, Dr. Michael Keller.

Although recognizing these suicidal warnings is vital, getting rid of the stigma around them is another crucial part of helping to prevent suicide.

“At Laguna Beach High School, the school counseling team and student support specialist have partnered with teachers and students to increase awareness of mental health, have developed peer counseling support services, and have worked to build awareness around mental health through in-class presentations on suicide prevention, mental health, and healthy coping,” said Keller.

Not only does the LBHS staff and counseling team assist students in seeking support, but there are other resources on campus as well. Multiple staff and students set up a booth on raising suicide awareness, and our Strength in Numbers club features discussions on mental health and provides a support system.

“We are very dedicated to providing a safe space to talk about issues and help people realize that it is okay to be imperfect,” said Strength in Numbers club president Hayden Rohrer.

If you feel like you are struggling, know there is always a way to overcome these difficult challenges. The bad things you may be feeling will not last forever. Please do not be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out for help does not show weakness; it shows courage. Do not use a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If you are in a life-threatening emergency, call 911 to get immediate support. 

The National Suicide Prevention and Crisis line is available by calling “9-8-8.” 

If an individual prefers using text communication to get support, you can text “Home” to 741741, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

(Photo by: Alexandria Wayne)