My suicide prevention program for middle and high school students

The #umatterchallenge program Feb 21, 2017.

Around August of 2015, two months after Charles’ suicide, I got the idea that I needed to develop a program for middle and high school students.

Of course, it didn’t come to me then. I was too overwhelmed with grief and my thoughts were too scrambled and unorganized.c53ee3db81019a69651a8f451497a2fa

By February 2016, I was frustrated that I couldn’t make it come together. I had more ideas but they didn’t fit together right.

Then I decided that I just didn’t need to worry about it. I needed to let go and trust that the idea would develop and present itself to me.

And one morning in March it did.

I couldn’t type it on my iPhone fast enough because the floodgates had opened. This was it.

This is not the typical program with lectures and posters and adults pushing phrases like like, “this is your brain on drugs.” This is a student centric approach. It allows them to take their own journey and make discoveries.

In short, it will empower students which is the best way to learn.

It is surprisingly simple.

I merely provide the framework. They’ll use the tools and the social media platform they like. They use their own creativity and step outside their own comfort zone. Because you know what? Adults are not going to erase stigma. The kids will. They want to.

11247713_651355688299261_9031714003564540815_oThey are why we are texting now. They are why we recycle. So I want them to own it, shape it, live it. The personality of the program is so like Charles–what he stood for, how he reached out.

After they have done the 21 day program, I’ll return and they will tell me what they learned. Because teens don’t like to be told what to do. Quite honestly, adults don’t either.

They’ll learn more by doing it themselves. I can’t wait to hear their experiences.

I’m finally proud of it. Thanks to teens who have helped me shape it.

How you can run this for your school

  • Here is the program: #umatterchallenge
  • Sign up here: umatterchallenge.com (This program is through Beacon Tree Foundation, Richmond VA)
  • We are making “kits” for schools and or college clubs. A teen/young adult takes ownership of the program, orders the kit (donor money pays for the kit contents) and instructions and templates are included. We are currently developing this kit with the help of YMCA leader’s club members.

It’s about promoting connectivity and belongingness and therefore preventing suicide and raising acceptance of mental illness and differences. No lectures. Only stories.

CONTACT ME or leave a comment below

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15 thoughts on “My suicide prevention program for middle and high school students”

  1. A private school sounds good, Anne Moss, or a church youth program. The Woodlake Methodist church reached out to teen skateboarders with programs years ago. I don’t go there, but heard about it. Any teen was welcome from any church.

  2. The Trilogy School in Raleigh is a small private school in Raleigh. They have around 70 students and they focus on children with IEP’s. The majority of the school is middle and high school students. Children with learning issues are more likely to struggle with depression. It seems like a perfect fit.

  3. Hi, Anne. I would be honored to help you with any administrative tasks associated with this great effort. I live in Chesterfield but have flexibility to travel when needed. You may reach me on Facebook at Kim Hancock Day or at the e-mail provided below.

    Many thanks for what you are doing.

    Kim

    1. Thank you Kim. I will add you to my database of contacts so I do not forget when I need admin help. Still figuring out roles for committee members.

  4. There is a new public charter middle school for only girls (primarily at risk girls) opening here in Wilmington nc this fall (2016-2017 school year). It is called GLOW. Sounds like it might be a good fit. If I can help let me know.

  5. Anne Moss. This is so weird you put this out there today. Jake is president of his fbla club and they are doing a red ribbon drug awareness in october. He asked me I I thought you would consider speaking to his senior class or maybe just his club. There are only 185 in his class and about 70 in fbla. He would have to run it by his principal but we definitely need a wake up call in this small community.

        1. Thank you! I can start with the club and present the program first. Usually it’s easier for the principal if you start with a small group.

  6. Many schools in the Apex, Cary, Holly Springs NC area have suffered the loss of kids thru addiction and suicide. Please keep me in mind as this blossoms into the program I know it will. I would love to help you reach our area. What a great idea!

  7. Anne I was wondering if you had any podcasts available?
    I love reading all of your posts in the post of your subscribers. I’m thinking it would be wonderful to have some podcasts to listen to you or to share with my daughters that have struggled with depression.
    And please tell your alter ego that we love you and you will love what you share.
    This has got to be the most heartbreaking yet healing thing that you can do not only for yourself but for others. Thank you!

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