Maverick Pulse

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Are CCSD Plans to Prevent Suicide Effective?

Nope. In fact, nowhere in the country are they even remotely effective.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Before anyone reads this opinion article, I would like to state that I mean absolutely no disrespect to the families involved with the people mentioned. I am telling their stories to advocate for suicide prevention. Also, if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Suicide: a tough topic to talk about for most, but not talked about enough. It has come up in past discussions, but there has never been an effective measure to prevent at least some deaths from it, and chances are, there never will be.

Over the past decade, national suicides among teens have risen dramatically. According to the CDC, from 2007 to 2017, the suicide rate for teen girls has gone from 2.4 to 5.1 per 100,000, and the rate for teen boys has gone from 10.8 to 14.2 per 100,000.

That might not seem like a lot, but think of it this way. Our school has around 1200 people in it, give or take 50. Imagine our entire school + 40% of that number killing themselves every year. Seems like a lot now, doesn’t it?

The plan for mental health in CCSD can be found as a PDF online, labeled the CCSD Mental Health Project. Note that this was created in April 2014, making it already four years old. Think about how our society as teens has changed since then, factoring in social media.

Mental health needs statistics show that there were 778 suicide intervention protocols conducted, with 60 CCSD Legal 2000 procedures done (this is when medical action is taken). This may seem like a large number, but based on personal knowledge, there’s probably ten-fold that number that need help. Yes, I’m aware that people joke about it, but there are many people who you might think are happy, but are in reality struggling.

The Mental Health Crisis Flowchart shows how the plan is put into action, with (in my opinion) detailed processes. However, there are too many factors in the plan that cuts into the time that is needed to help a person affected.

Also, to anyone who thinks that a student is going to go to a trusted adult before it’s too late, change it. A student will go to a trusted adult after they’ve decided to do it, and that’s how it has been with every situation I’ve known of.

I think the major issue with every plan put into place is that it is structured like a business. I’m not saying that they are treating it like a business; the process is just very business-like. There are too many factors that hinder actual help being given to a person affected. It’s almost cliche in the way the mental health plan is carried out, especially when it comes to the flowchart.

Another issue I have are the people who are put in place to help these people. I’m making this very clear because at this point I don’t care about consequences. The people involved in trying to give care to a person affected with suicidal thoughts, especially at this school, are about useless with everything, let alone dealing with actual mental health issues. We need people who genuinely care about students’ well-being, and who will put blood, sweat, and tears into helping them. If you’re only in it for the pay, just quit your job. You’re not helping anyone.

The reason I am bringing this up is because of two situations close to me. Matt Touma, a junior, killed himself over spring break. He attended Centennial High School, and although I only knew him in middle school, I considered him a friend then. I knew he was bullied, and I did as much as I could to help when it came to stopping that. He was extremely intelligent and had amazing qualities that most people don’t have, such as kindness and decency. The fact that no one decided to help him at that school infuriates me. I wish we had never lost contact after middle school.

My best friend Mikyla killed herself two-and-a-half years ago due to mental illness. She was an amazing person, always striving to make people happy, and would help anyone if they needed anything. She lived in Illinois, which has an act in place called Ann Marie’s Law, which is similar to the Mental Health project here. For context, Ann Marie Blaha was an 11-year-old girl who killed herself after two peers had catfished her, telling her to kill herself.

Mikyla had gone into her school and talked to a counselor about her situation, and a few days later, she committed suicide. I still believe to this day that they are a factor in why this happened. As harsh as that sounds, let me explain myself. There was absolutely no communication between the counselors and her parents, and everything was delayed, from paperwork to phone calls. No one truly followed the Ann Marie’s Law procedure, which, if you read into it, is not necessarily effective.

Many people watch the extremely popular show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and that’s all the talk of today, but people are interpreting it the wrong way. Yes, the show is designed to be entertainment, but people are not looking at the bigger picture. I can say from personal experiences that most of the events detailed in the show can occur and have occurred in real life, minus the tapes made by Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford.

Five years ago, we were all talking about mental health, mental illness, suicide, and ways of trying to prevent it from happening. Most of us just posted stupid artsy quotes on Tumblr telling you to not kill yourself, which is infuriating. I will say this right now: there will never be a 100% effective plan to prevent suicides. People will still do it, and until the sun explodes and everyone is incinerated, we will always hear about people committing suicide. I’m not asking for suicides to be 100% prevented, although that would be extremely nice.

What I am asking for is an actually effective plan that will aid in lowering the rates for suicides. I make it sound so simple, but in reality, it is extremely difficult to do. There are so many factors when it comes to mental illness, which range from at-home environments, school environments, and social media environments. For someone to just come up with a plan to prevent this is impossible, which is why it takes hundreds, if not thousands of people to come together and figure something out.

Suicide isn’t talked about enough anymore, especially with all of the other movements that are coming out now. The topic of suicide has essentially been pushed to the back of the box, although it is a major factor in other, more popular movements right now. These are my opinions, and this is when I wish Maverick Pulse had a comment section, so we could see other people’s viewpoints.

I’ve had enough of people wandering around, talking aimlessly about the subject and not doing anything effective. If I could do something major, I would, but it’s just trying to find the right approach to take that I am struggling with. I know for a fact I’m not alone in these beliefs. We all say that we are against suicide and want to prevent it, but is anyone actually doing anything?

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About the Writer
Drew Comer, Staff Writer



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