The Silver Scribe

Why Hope Week Is So Important

Allie Harvey, Features and News Editor

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In our society today, suicide is a prevalent issue that is too often pushed under the rug. Depression among teens is at a staggering 20% and suicide is the third leading cause among teenagers, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages 10-17, and the rate of suicide among teens in Utah has tripled since 2007. With more technology to communicate with billions of people, teens are too often turning to their phones and are feeling lonelier than ever. Social Media creates trust issues due to the ability to be anonymous. The pressures of life are often too much, and the month of January is a rough one for many people who struggle with mental illnesses. When Winter Break wraps up, it’s hard to get back into the normal routine of waking up at some ghastly hour and sitting in a classroom for seven hours. The schoolwork that got neglected over break comes crashing down when the illusion of ‘I have more time’ fails. The holidays are over and students are left with only Spring Break to look forward to, months and months away.  

 

Suicidal Ideation is becoming an even bigger issue with television shows like Thirteen Reasons Why and triggering books like Looking For Alaska and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Many outlets of media are portraying suicide and depression as something beautiful and trendy. Suicide should be portrayed as it is; tragic and devastating. And although some books and movies offer a look into a world of someone with mental illness, they’re often triggering to those who DO have a mental illness. The one good thing that can be said about these is that they eliminate the stigma around depression and other mental illnesses. By eliminating social stigma around mental illness, it offers a safe place for people who need it, and gives them a chance to speak,  and a chance to reach out for help without the fear of being reprimanded.

 

Organizations like HOPE Squad and Kindness Crew are helping to spread some light on those important issues and helping to bring some extra happiness and kindness to Riverton High School. A big event at Riverton that helps do so is Hope Week, run by HOPE Squad. Linda Tranter, a counselor at Riverton High School and a crucial part of HOPE Squad, said the following about Hope Week, “Hope Week was designed to give kids a lot of support and encouragement. January is typically kind of a dreary month and kids who might be feeling depressed sometimes feel that way in January.  HOPE Squad provides activities and handouts during lunches the week of Jan 22 – 26 to support Riverton High students, and give them hope. HOPE Squad members are available to talk to for anyone who is feeling down or lonely. The members have jackets and shirts that they wear on Tuesdays to help Riverton students identify them easier.  HOPE Squad students have been trained on how to help students get the help they need.   Hope Week is designed to bring about an awareness that life is good, that suicide is really not an option, and reminding them that they have reasons to live.”

 

One of the best parts of Hope Week is the Hope Walk which is usually held on the Saturday following Hope Week. When asked about her favorite activity of Hope Week, Linda Tranter said, “[My favorite activity] is probably the Hope Walk. When we do the Hope Walk, we get families of kids who have completed [suicide]. It’s tender and sobering to meet with those families, and they always come up and hug me and tell me how grateful they are that we’re still doing this, because if they would have had something like this when their kid went here, then maybe they could have gotten help. They are so grateful that other kids are getting help and that we pay attention to it, that we address it, that we do something about it to protect all kids, and it’s so appreciated. It’s just such a good feeling to know that you’re doing something proactive for such a good cause.”

 

Hope Week gives students, faculty, and parents a chance to change the lives of those who feel trapped by mental illness. If you want to be more involved in suicide awareness, participate in Hope Week. If you or anyone you love is suffering, please take the time to reach out to them and do everything in your power to help. Most importantly, know when it’s time to get intervention from an adult. So many lives can be saved by talking to a trusted adult. Linda Tranter offers advice saying, “Talk to your counselor, talk to a HOPE Squad member, talk to a teacher, talk to a parent or guardian, talk to a trusted adult, a clergy member, a religious member; just talk to somebody.  A lot of times, kids don’t want to die, they just want the pain to go away. I would say in almost every situation, people who attempt suicide do it out of instinct, and the minute they do it they regret it. So just talk, find somebody and talk to them. We can get you help.”

 

Whatever you might be dealing with, know that recovery is possible, and hope is on the horizon. Get the help you need. Talk to someone, you don’t have to suffer alone. There are so many resources for students. If you are looking to do some good in the world, go to the Hope Walk.

 

The Hope Walk will be held on January 27th at 9 AM in front of Riverton High School. It’s not a long walk, just from the high school to Redwood Road. There will be police escorts, firemen, and the Mayor will be speaking. The city provides doughnuts and hot chocolate. Bundle up!!!

 

Stay safe and take care of yourselves, Silverwolves.

 

Resources:

-SafeUT app  

 

-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24/7

 

-Crisis Text Line:

Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7

 

-The Trevor Project Lifeline

866-488-7386

 

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Why Hope Week Is So Important