Suicide Prevention: Let’s Talk

Mallory Avington, Staff Reporter

September was National Suicide Prevention Month, and that should be celebrated to a certain extent.

Though talking about suicide is a very difficult and sensitive subject, most teens agree that it is a subject that needs to be addressed.

The time for addressing it is now.  

Self-harm, the self-explanatory act of harming oneself, is more commonplace than many would like to believe according to the latest research. Though most have a general awareness, not many people seem to be acting on prevention or simply talking about it on a national scale. 

However, not all are afraid to raise their voice: meet Michelle*, a mother whose son had previously attempted suicide. She agreed to sit down and share her experiences.  

“I learned that,” Michelle said, “Communication and honesty are what builds trust.” 

She said that the main things she felt while going through the rounds of her son’s attempt consisted mainly of terror and helplessness, but overall, she was thankful for everything that she’d learned and the opportunities for communication. 

“Find someone you can be 100 percent vulnerable with and trust them with your truth,” Michelle advised others going through a similar situation. “What you’re going through is your reality, which means it’s real to you. It matters. You matter. Find that person in your life and let them in.”  

Forty-eight states don’t have suicide prevention policies, according to, but Lewis County is taking a proactive step in combating the second leading cause in death among teens, the first among them being accidental.

The Lewis County School Central Office administrators have required all employees to take suicide prevention training for the past four years. This year, employees had to take training through the WV Safe Schools Act.

Furthermore, a therapist is on staff at Camden Health for students dealing with mental health issues. LCHS also has two counselors and a school nurse for other related problems, and a mandatory suicide prevention assembly was conducted with small groups of students in mid-September.  

 “I feel like people should be there more for each other, because it’s kind of stupid that so many kids have killed themselves from bullying or home problems like neglection or abuse, and it shouldn’t be complicated to tell people about your problems,” confessed Sophomore Liz Paugh, once asked what she thought about opening up to other people 

Self harm, though it’s a serious problem that also needs to be addressed, is different from suicide, says counselor Mrs.Dodi Slaughter. Just because someone cuts or hurts themselves doesn’t necessarily mean they’re at risk of suicide.

According to says that approximately 575,000 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm in 2015.

“Self mutilation can take many forms. The most common form of self harm is cutting. However, other methods include: burning, excessive scratching, repeatedly banging one’s head, punching one’s self or other objects, and drinking harmful substances,” says  

 “For me, it relieved a lot of stress and helped me cope with anger a little,” said an anonymous source when asked why she had initially started cutting. The source noted that she has since stopped cutting

Sometimes students who cut or commit other forms of self-harm go under the radar because they cover up the evidence with clothing, hair, and make-up, wishing to go undetected because “They understand the stigma surrounding mental health and the labels that people receive for self-harming. In their opinion, it is easier to hide their pain than to seek help,” the states.

If a student is contemplating suicide or committing any act of self-harm, one should seek help from a trusted adult or a friend who can find one. It is critical for students to take all threats of suicide seriously and confide in a teacher, adult friend, coach, counselor, etc. The same is true of self mutilation. If signs are exhibited, students should talk to a trusted adult.  

Please don’t be included in this year’s statistics.