Tiger Time classes discuss suicide prevention

Kelly Cordingley, Editor in Chief

During Tiger Time on Oct. 25, students watched a student-made video about suicide prevention. It featured Blue Valley students giving facts and advice, as well as students who’d suffered with depression and thoughts of suicide.
“I liked it when they showed students at our school that were affected by [depression],” senior Hannah O’Neil said. “It made it more real.”
This was the fourth video shown to help prevent suicide and to inform students about what to do if they encounter these circumstances.
“We’ve always done something for suicide prevention,” counselor Sandy Fryer said. “We used to go to freshman classes and do 20-minute presentations with them. It was getting stale.”
Three years ago, administration decided to use a video to spread the message.
It included current students informing the student body about suicide facts and statistics.
“We did the first video three years ago,” Fryer said. “We got really good feedback. This year we decided to revamp it.”
The Tiger Time lesson also included a discussion following the video, something Fryer said differs from past lessons.
“We thought it would be more effective,” she said. “We’re trying to find effective ways to get out a very important message.”
O’Neil said although she doesn’t see suicide as a prevalent problem at BV, she hopes the videos help anyone in that position.
“I don’t see it as a problem,” O’Neil said. “But I’m sure it does happen if we’re talking about it so much. I hope this video can help.”
Fryer said many students at BV may not be aware what their classmates are going through.
“Sadly, in this office we have kids coming down every week,” she said. “We have a lot of kids who are hurting on different spectrums.”
According to a study done eight years ago by University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Kansas doctors, among others, friends are generally the first to know if their friend is having suicidal thoughts. Fryer said this is something crucial to understand.
“Friends are the ones who are usually going to know,” she said. “You might have a sense that your friend isn’t quite right. We need students to be armed with that information, and bring them down [to the office].”
Fryer said every year she addresses depressed teens who have attempted to commit suicide.
“Right here at BV, there are students in extreme pain who need help and maybe won’t reach out,” Fryer said. “Every year we have kids attempt it.”
Fryer said it is crucial for teens who suspect a friend may be sliding into this kind of depression to get help from an adult immediately.
“Get them to an adult,” she said. “That is a very heavy burden to have to have on your shoulders. They might be mad at you at first, but in the long run they’ll thank you.”