Windsor Central High School students spent Tuesday watching a mental health awareness presentation by Heidi Mikeska, Systems Coordinator Broome County Mental Health, and BC SAFE (Suicide Awareness for Everyone).
The presentation was based on the Talk Saves Lives program that educates teachers and teens on the latest data on suicide and provides information from research on what causes people to consider suicide, as well as health, historical, and environmental factors that put individuals at risk.
“We do this so teachers and students are aware of what mental health indicators to look for,” said Emily Friends, Windsor Central School District Community Schools Coordinator.
The presentation also focused on prevention by giving an understanding of the protective factors that lower suicide risk, and strategies for managing mental health and being proactive about self-care.
“Having the conversation and reducing the stigma around mental health and suicide is important especially with this demographic and age range,” said WCHS school social worker Mackenzie DuBois. “We want to empower young kids and teenagers to be direct and have these conversations to keep each other safe. This gives them the tools and conversation starters they need. They know more about each other than anyone and this is empowering them to have the hard conversations.”
The presentation also provided guidance on warning signs and behaviors to look for, and how to get help for someone in a suicidal crisis. Each student received a 988 Suicide Hotline bracelet after the presentation.