AN INSIDE LOOK
HEALTHY EDUCATION FOR LIFE PROGRAM (HELP) GIVES EDUCATORS TOOLS FOR SUCCESS
When presenting the Healthy Education for Life Program (HELP), some days are more challenging than others. At a recent presentation to 7th graders this past semester, a boy ran to the front of the room and pointed at a young girl, “Audrey”, shouting “Her sister killed herself!” Bursting into tears, the girl ran out of the room. Her teacher had followed her out, and when she was ready, she returned to the classroom and remained silent throughout the presentation. While Audrey was out of the classroom, the boy’s eyes filled with tears. He hadn’t intended to be mean. I quickly and gently used this as a teachable moment, saying “Many of us have been touched by suicide, and because we don’t know who has and who hasn’t, it’s so important to be kind and respectful and to let people share what they want with you.” The class went on to have a great session, learning how to talk about suicide and how to recognize someone at risk.
After it was over, all students left the room except for Audrey who was crying softly into her hands. I knelt down in front of her and asked if Audrey wanted to share her feelings. Eventually Audrey admitted, “I think about killing myself every night.” Our presenter and Audrey then talked for 45 minutes and by the end of their conversation, Audrey had a plan in place to get help. She said, “Talking to you has made my heart feel clear and happy.” With your help, this feeling of clarity and relief is something we aim to bring to the people we serve. Clarity, in learning how to talk about suicide and how to recognize someone who may be at risk; relief, in knowing there are people who can help when you feel that all is lost. Thank you for investing in our programs and making an impact on the lives of people like Audrey.