While suicide accounts for thousands of lives lost each year, it is a cause of death that is entirely preventable. With this in mind, Chatham High School’s Yellow Ribbon Team led suicide prevention training for every student in their school over the course of March 24 and 27. The Yellow Ribbon Team, 38 students in all, presented their peers with the facts, warning signs, and risk factors of suicide, as well as simple ways to get help if they or someone they know ever needs it.
The Yellow Ribbon Team underwent special training themselves and began planning their informational program in January. During that time, they interviewed students throughout the high school about the students’ understanding of suicide and its causes, and prepared a short video based on those interviews, which they played as part of
In another activity, the team led a trivia competition where the students in the audience competed against each other, using the game-based learning app Kahoot!, to see who knew the most about the signs of suicide and what to do to help themselves or others. The team also performed a skit where they symbolized personal problems with bags laid upon a student. When the student became weighed down by her personal “baggage,” she became emotionally overwhelmed and sought escape through suicide. The skit then worked backward in time and her baggage was lifted from her when people listened to the warning signs she was giving and made sure they got her help.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is part of a national initiative designed to teach students about the warning signs of suicide and give potential suicide victims a voice to ask for help with. Chatham’s Yellow Ribbon Team is a student-led, all-volunteer program that meets after school and involves students in grade 9-12. It is advised by school social worker Tracy Kelly.