The Importance of Suicide Awareness

Amanda Berck

All week we have been hearing special announcements over Suicida Awareness Week. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths between 10-19 years of age. Suicide Awareness has become and important priority at West having lost our own peers to suicide. I sat down with social worker Mary Lea Kieffer to talk about the importance of Suicide Awareness.

Q: What it the importance of Suicide Awareness Week?

A: We have to get the word out and help our student notice the warning sign. We have to help our student know and understand the problem and realize how to deal with it.


Q: When a student is dealing with suicidal thought what do they do?

A: Usually the student will tell a friend of the same gender, the parents of the student will be one of the last to know so make sure to alert them immediately.


Q: Myths about suicide?

A: Talking about suicide puts thoughts in a person’s head. This isn’t true, talking about it directly is the fastest way to solve the problem and get help.


Q: What do you ask a student with suicidal thoughts?

A: we usually ask the student if they have a plan. Are they stockpiling pills? Are they planning to hang themselves with a rope? We have to be as direct as possible. Depression is treatable with medication and treatment. We want our student to realize this, especially the ones with suicidal thoughts.


Q: What should a student do if a friend of theirs tells them about possibly taking their own life?

A: Never keep it a secret. Don’t agree to it and tell them directly. Offer them support and tell their parents or counselor immediately. If they continue to attempt don’t be afraid to call 911.We need to get them in an environment where they are unable to hurt themselves and can deal with the problem head on.


Q: What is your mission as a social worker?

A: My mission is to help the students with depression or anxiety and help them understand how to deal with it so they are able to cope later in life.


Q: Who is affected by suicidal thoughts?

A: Suicidal thoughts effects everyone like our A student, our failing students, white students, black students, it really affects everyone.


If you or a friend are dealing with suicidal thoughts, see your counselor or Kieffer.

For a crisis help line call: 1-800-273-TALK