Suicide Prevention

Students and Staff implement strategies to address second leading cause of death among teens


Shalynn Long

Olivia Talbert and Shalynn Long

Motivational signs have been posted outside of the school. These signs are representing the Suicide Prevention month, which is September. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US according to

Some warning signs can include mentioning suicide often while talking to another person, obsession with death, such as type of music, artwork, or poetry. Dramatic mood swings constantly alternating from depression to acting fine is another warning sign.

According to, approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide.

In the past few years, Topeka schools have become more and more familiar with losing students to suicide. Schools have been trying different solutions to prevent suicide from occuring within the student body. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for age groups 15-24 (Kansas suicide The concern of suicide is escalating in Kansas and many are taking action to prevent serious harming from occuring.

“It was to go along with Suicide Prevention month which is in September, also I had three students join the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Initiative and they had just come back from that and so we felt like it was a good time to display them and start talking about suicide,” district social worker Mrs. Corey Hinton said.

Some of the signs have statements saying “You are not alone”, “Your mistakes do not define you”, and “Don’t give up”. These signs display a positive aspect that reaches out to students that may be having suicidal thoughts. With hope in changing the minds of students to feel they are important and have a purpose to life. Every student should be able to get help to overcome their suffering from personal feelings.

“Hopefully, they (the signs) let people know they are not alone and that there are people out there that they can talk to and that…your decisions don’t define you or your mistakes don’t define you and that they know the school cares and they’re people at the school that they can go talk to,” Mrs. Hinton said.

The school is here to help anyone going through any kind of situation, especially counselors and teachers. They will always be here to help students overcome a problem and talk the situation out.

“A local church in the community, they donated them (the signs) to the school at the end of last year but we wanted to save them for this year,” Mrs. Hinton said.

The counseling staff hopes to see positive enlightenment for anyone who notices the signs and take into consideration what they represent.

“We learned different techniques and things like that, how we can get more involved in suicide prevention and helping freshman transition into highschool, and what other schools have these school programs,” junior Patricia Jones said.

Jones and three other Shawnee Heights students went to a conference to learn how to become more involved in the school and ways to prevent suicide. They are using these skills to improve the school and promote beneficial ideas such as, posting the signs.

“The signs are kind of just like a reminder that you know you are not alone and that there are people out there to talk to and it’s like a friendly reminder when you drive into school in the morning because you know sometimes you’re having a rough morning or you’re leaving school and you don’t feel the greatest’s more positive,” Jones said.

It is a traumatic experience for anyone to hear that a student has passed away. It’s even worse to hear that a classmate has committed suicide. Our school is attempting to reduce suicide thoughts by creating positive energy around the school and encouraging students to get help for anyone going through tough situations.

If you know of anyone suffering in this situation please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.