LPS staff, students work together for suicide prevention
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - September is Suicide Prevention Month. Here in Nebraska, it impacts some of our state’s youngest. Suicide is the second leading cause of death here among people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Aiming to bring that number down, Lincoln Public Schools said it’s giving staff, students, and parents resources to reach out in times of need and get help.
Lincoln East High School senior Kaylee Denker is working to break the stigma behind talking about mental illness with the hope of saving her peers’ lives.
“I had a friend that was really struggling with mental health, and I was in middle school. And so I was always passionate about talking about mental health,” Denker said.
Denker is a part of ‘The Hope Squad’ both at Lincoln East and at the national level. It’s a group of high school students who can connect with their peers and guide them to a trusted adult.
“I think it’s super nerve-wracking to sometimes go up to somebody that you don’t really know and just explain everything that’s going on in your life. But, it’s super easy if I have a friend and that’s who I’m gonna be talking to,” Denker said.
According to SAVE, which stands for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, suicide is the third leading cause of death nationally for people ages 15 to 24, and the second here in Nebraska.
LPS said comfort is key in preventing suicide.
“Sometimes students are torn about if they should share this information or not and we really want them to know that it’s important to reach out to an adult to keep someone safe,” said Andrea Phillips, coordinator for school social workers for LPS.
LPS said there are school social workers and counselors in every school. The school district also has a crisis team and teaches suicide prevention lessons to students and staff.
“I feel like sometimes people don’t really know what resources are out there for them,” Denker said. “But, if resources are right in front of you, and you can see it every single day, then you know that people are there for you and you can talk to anyone.”
LPS says it encourages parents to have open conversations with their kids about mental health and teach them to seek help when they need it.
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