Local Students form Suicide Prevention Group

The Students Offering Support group is reaching out to neighboring schools to help more Northland students.

CLOQUET, Minn.-  Students from Cloquet High School are doing their part to prevent teen suicide.

After the Northland students attended a text for life conference in Grand Rapids last year, they were inspired to bring the program back home. In students offering support also known as S.O.S. members know how to talk with someone struggling with depression and what adult to inform.

“We want them to know that they are not alone,” S.O.S founder/REACH mentor Raven Sevilleja said. “I mean some of us not only have those thoughts, but we also know people who have been affected by this.”

Leaders in the group have fought hard to keep the project going.

“It was really difficult at first, because people stigmatized all of us as suicidal or having thoughts of depression,” Sevilleja said.

The misconception of the group made leaders determined to find ways to connect with fellow students. After putting together assemblies, under and upper classmen joined the cause.

“There’s such a stigma attached to mental health and suicide,” REACH mentoring executive director Dakota Koski said. “It’s great we have these group of kids here today to learn about it, talk about it, and we should be talking about it.”

The major talking point amongst student leaders is the Text For Life service.

In the past students used 1–800– SUICIDE prevention hotlines, but the group says hotlines won’t help reach the younger generations.

“No matter what people are going through you have to help them,” Moose Lake student Brandi Bandel said. “It’s different helping different people, you have to accommodate to their needs.”

The texting service connects students with a live representative. S.O.S leaders are making sure Northland students are aware of this resource.

“Our school has the guidelines that all schools have; and it’s pretty much legal jargon, not something every 15 to 16 year old is going to understand.”

This year the group is spreading awareness to students from seven different schools in the surrounding communities. Nearly 100 attended a conference put on by REACH and S.O.S.

Members hope the conference inspired other students to speak out for suicide prevention.

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