Making it to life after high school

Number 2 pencils and a list of multiple choice test bubbles

Wes Bausmith illustration relating to standardized testing. (Los Angeles Times/TNS)

High school was a time we remember for different reasons. Some sports teams made state finals, some kings and queens were nominated at dances, and some students never experienced any of life’s magic that awaits beyond their alma mater.

This is for them.

Social media campaigns have risen in the fight to prevent suicide; #Bethe1 to #livefortomorrow #Ikeptliving. World Suicide Prevention Day is recognized on Sept. 10, 2016.

“College is an incredible time in a young adult’s life, but also a stressful time when the vast majority of mental illnesses first appear. Yet, when students prepare to go off to college, they often get vaccines and families talk about nutrition or exercise, but skip addressing mental health needs,” Mary Giliberti, chief executive officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses said.

The public education system graduated an estimated 3.3 million high school seniors in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Education records.

The Centers for Disease Control’s most recent report shows 8 percent of students grades 9-12 attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months.

These students were: brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins. It cannot be forgotten that each victim is connected to a network of others.

Each attempt to commit suicide spreads out like a web, it affects the families, friends, co-workers, teachers and fellow students.

“It just doesn’t make sense. I just keep crying the word ‘why,’” a student from Chelsea High School said.

The city of Chelsea, with a high school of 837 students, suffered the recent loss of Jared Lee Franklin on Aug. 11, 2016. He was a 2016 high school graduate who took his own life just two months before his eighteenth birthday.

Losses like those of 17 year-old Franklin are motivation to take the “let’s have a conversation” pledge to open up the discussion regarding suicide sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Michigan for persons ages 10-34, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

At Washtenaw Community College, the average student age is reported to be 27 years old, according to The College Board organization which is well within the at risk age range.

On a national level, males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9 percent of all suicides, reported by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

New age technology such as the Crisis Text Line is revamping ways for people to reach out. Similar to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the text line offers a texting communication for those in crisis.

The Jed Foundation, a national nonprofit organization has released a guide for parents and students to use to talk about mental health, it became available Aug. 31, 2016.

“JED is a national nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults,” reads The Jed Foundation’s mission statement in a recent press release.

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