Lyons Township tackles Suicide Awareness Month

Keira Sullivan, Freelance Reporter

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Lyons Township is taking Suicide Awareness Month seriously, making announcements on the P.A. and teaching students how to deal with depression for their friends and themselves in an effort to help the rising numbers of mental illness in teens.

“[Suicide Awareness Month] is really important because it lets people know that if they’re not themselves, they can get help,” LT Student Services Division Chair Donna Bredrup said. “Being aware of the signs can allow students to help one another.”

All throughout the month of September, the nation puts suicide prevention in the spotlight. LT is one of thousands of schools that are actively talking about how teens are suffering more and more. The acronym A.C.T. (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) works to be a main message toward students, reminding them how to respond to mental health issues. The month’s events have been run by student support counselors and social workers at LT, partnering with clubs to spread advice to teens, Bredrup said.

“There are a lot of changes going on with being a teenager, and being able to acknowledge different things that are happening and talking about them can work wonders,” Bredrup said. “The most important thing for people to understand it that the pain is temporary, but taking your own life is permanent.”

The Illinois Youth survey reports that roughly ⅓ of high school seniors reported being depressed. Depression can be hard to define, but understanding the student and getting them help is the most important thing, Bredrup said.

“I deal with teens suffering from depression, and I’d say [I deal with it] too often,” LT Student Counselor Michael Ziroli said. “In the last 15 years I’ve worked here, I’ve seen a lot more than it used to occur.”

There are many factors going into teen depression. Some are biological and others are environmental, Ziroli said.

“If you or someone you know is going through depression, the best thing is to tell any trusted adult.” Ziroli said. “Suicide Awareness Month was made to create awareness. If people don’t know how to act, they can’t help each other, and it’s a really difficult situation.”

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