Jason Harward, staff writer
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds.
More teens die from suicide, which is treatable through medicine and/ or counseling, than from AIDS, birth defects, cancer and heart disease combined. These serious diseases do not even compare to the deaths accumulated by suicide.
Each backpack on the front lawn was a failure to stop a student, just like anybody at Beverly, from adding to these statistics.
“Walking around the backpacks was incredibly powerful because I felt the stories of every family who has lost a loved one,” sophomore Jonathan Tansey said.
One person who has been very close to a death by suicide is Jordan Burnham, who came to speak in the Swim Gym. His mission is for students to start a conversation about the true threats of suicide.
“I hope a student takes away a conversation. Whether it be about themselves, whether it be about a friend they know or about suicide. Any of the topics that I brought up I hope starts a conversation between them and a friend or whoever it may be. I really hope that’s what comes out of this,” Burnham said, who attempted suicide at 18-years-old, as a senior in high school.
While there are many ways to start a conversation, one that is made for high school students is TEEN LINE, which is designed for teens to anonymously talk to other teens who could be going through the same thing.
“I think that teenagers have a lot of issues that they’re not comfortable speaking about with everyone and they have an easier time talking to teens. I think that mental health issues and other issues are really important to have somebody to talk, so having something like Teen Line is really helpful for a lot of people because they can have someone to talk to anonymously. They know that it’s someone who knows what they’re going through. It’s really helpful for a lot of people and I’m glad that I get to be a part of that,” Jessica Beroukhim, a TEEN LINE listener, said.
Thousands of teens commit suicide each year, yet, according to SAVE.org, 80 to 90 percent of teens who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully. These speakers and listeners, like Burnham and Beroukhim, help teens and their families avoid the devastating guilt and loss that come with suicides.
“The fact that it helps people, saves lives and the fact that people don’t feel alone, it’s just so motivational for me. Every time I speak and someone comes up to me and says I know how you feel, you helped me, you inspired me, that’s what inspires me. I love to be a positive part of mental health and making people feel like they’re not alone,” Burnham said.
Save a life.