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Offering a kind smile during times of hardship

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Every year in Kennewick, multiple people attempt suicide. This past year, it received even more publicity when a couple of students from our school district succumbed to it. It has always been a problem with teens. Teens choose suicide when they lose hope. People who have been through it understand, and if teens need help, the national hotline is available, too. It is 1-800-273-8255. Another way teens can be proactive is to provide support to one another and look for signs that fellow classmates and friends need encouragement.

Kamiakin police officer Chris Buroker weighs in on why he thinks students consider suicide. “I think it would be instability at home. Usually kids that are going to or do come from homes that are really broken. We get a lot more suicide threats, and it’s usually a cry for help which is fine because that is our job. We want to get involved.”

People who have thought of suicide generally do not want to share how they feel because they are afraid of being judged.

Here at our school we have a survivor of several suicide attempts. Seinor Diego Estevez thought about committing suicide many times. He’s attempted it twice. But now that he has worked through it and sought help, he wants people to know that it is okay to ask for help.

Estevez did not want to tell his family or friends about his suicidal thoughts because of his own fear.

“I first tried [suicide] because of racism after constantly [being picked on by people] and not knowing that I could reach out to people and seek someone to help me out. I thought it was the only way out. But I stopped because I think there is not too much of a point to it. First off, it is the quitter’s way out. I think it’s a very selfish thing to do… [and] it makes more problems than it solves,” said Estevez.

You have walked past many students today. Do you know what is going on in their lives? Did you know that one of those kids in your class may have thought about suicide? Or maybe they are still thinking about it? That person might think they don’t matter, that they are a waste of space, that they aren’t noticed or valued.

It’s not always the people who have no friends or the ones who eat alone. It could be the most popular person in school. Maybe they are tired of being watched, or maybe they don’t feel good enough.

We don’t know everyone’s story and we can’t stop everyone who thinks about suicide. But a smile can go a long way. Just saying hi to someone or asking about their day can save a person for that day.

 

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Offering a kind smile during times of hardship