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Never alone.

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Holly Kate O’Brien

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Never alone.

One word

With one tap of button, words are tweeted, comments are posted, and texts are sent. One word its sender may have meant as a joke, but to its receiver, it could be taken as anything but funny. It could be a reason not to live. All it takes is one word.  

“The happiest people are always the ones hurting the most,” Derek Catalan, freshman, said.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US, and nearly 50,000 Americans committed suicide in 2017. Parents, teenagers, people, of all ages are struggling but getting through it with voices going through their heads saying, “I am not alone,” according to a suicide prevention website.

“I am a big believer in that no matter what you’re going through in life, there is always a friend, a family member, even a complete stranger that will talk you through things and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Makenzie Rowell, senior, said.

To prevent this tragedy from happening, treat strangers like friends; uplift and support those who mean something special, and if something seems off with an individual, report it to someone, a parent, a counselor, a teacher, or another adult.

“Checking in on friends and doing the little things can make the biggest difference. Love everyone, and always be kind because you never know what someone is going through,” Sydney Runyan, junior, said.

Students are not alone. Call and share the suicide hotline phone number: 1-800-273-8255.

 


#lovelikeREED

To support those are who grieving over the loss of a friend, brother, son, and a God-loving young man, also known as Reed Schonberger, Kali Terza and Tanner Schonberger plan on starting a #lovelikereed club for students at Etowah to share stories about their lost loved ones.

“I want to start this #lovelikereed club to help every person that Reed touched and to keep his legacy alive. I think sharing stories, grieving, and supporting one another will be an amazing way to come to peace with the loss of a student we all loved,” Kali Terza, sophomore, said.

The signs that someone is suffering are not always visible according to Reed Schonberger’s mother, Amy Greene.

“As a parent of a child who no one would have expected to take his own life, I want people to know that sometimes the signs are barely there, so it’s extremely important to know what they are,” Greene said.

Reed was only one of many teenagers who ended his life, and in 2017, more than one million others attempted to, as well. Students, teachers, family, friends, everyone can help people who may be having those thoughts running through their heads. It is important to recognize and know the warning signs.

It does not just happen here in Towne Lake. Last month, a student from Freedom Middle School ended his life. Neighbors and friends are remembering the 12-year-old by placing a baseball cap on their mailboxes because the 7th grader loved to play and watch baseball.

“Don’t be afraid to tell a teacher, counselor or parent if you think someone is suicidal. It’s worth them being mad at you for awhile because you saved a life as they and many others will be grateful, too,” Greene said.


More than just a pause

The semicolon. It has two meanings. Writers use a semicolon to join two closely related sentences rather than ending the first and beginning the second. The other, when someone chooses not to end life but to continue making it worth living. “Project Semicolon” was created to help reduce the incidents of suicide worldwide. According to www.projectsemicolon.com, this organization has provided guidance to more than 5 million people since 2013.

“I got the semicolon tattoo because it represents life after death. The period represents the end of his [Reed’s] human life, and the comma below it represents his eternal life and how his loved ones live for him and continue on his legacy,” Tanner Schonberger, senior, said.

To prevent these things from happening, some people decide to mark their skin with a reminder that there is a life to live. Some people also make this decision to show their love for one of their lost loved ones, Reed Schonberger. For example, senior, Nick Ladd chose to make a mark on his life with the tattoo.

“I got the tattoo as a way to remember Reed for myself and to help spread the message about suicide and how it impacts people’s lives,” Ladd said.

There are other things that are not permanent but still spread awareness and help people share memories and stories with others. Blue shirts, with #lovelikereed, written across the front, bracelets with Reed’s favorite bible verse and his name,and #lovelikereed stickers are being sold. For more information, click here.

If people need a place to go to talk or reminisce, every Friday morning, the FCA club meets at 7:30 in the auditorium; the last meeting of this school year is May 17. Counselors are always there to talk with students, as well.


Seeking help

Reed made such an impact on everyone’s lives. And that goes for everyone who has suicidal thoughts.

If you ever feel you need someone to talk to and prefer texting over talking, text RISE to 741741. Trained and professional crisis counselors are there to talk people through any crisis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you prefer a face-to-face conversation, seek out your high school counselor. Also, licensed therapists are readily available. For a complete list in your area, click here.

Remember, students you are not alone.

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About the Writer
Holly Kate O'Brien, Student Life Supervisor

Hi! My name is Holly Kate O’Brien and I am a sophomore this year. I like writing because I am able to express myself. I have a love for laughing, my...

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Never alone.”

  1. Ashley Cantwell on May 14th, 2019 8:17 pm

    Holly Kate, These were very impressive words. It’s a subject that is very important and especially now in our society. So many people sweep the “S” word under the rug! I’m glad to see that your generation is trying to get this recognized in the community.

    I’m proud of you! I know your parents are very proud!

  2. gina forbes on May 15th, 2019 8:33 am

    thank you for sharing this holly kate… communication and kindness are the key … so very relieved to see you and your peers bring this to light and making it alright to talk about… your generation can make the difference that is needed….. god bless you !!!!!

  3. Ella Covington on May 15th, 2019 7:28 pm

    Thank you for all hou are doing to spread the word!! I lost two siblings to suicide. I also suffered from depression. I was supported by a loving husband and family.. I want people to know depression does get better. Like any illness we have to fight it and you can win. I did. And because I did there are two wonderful kids in this world..If I could say say something to anyone thinking od ending their life it would be life is worth living and most important YOU ARE WORTH LIVING FOR!!

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Never alone.