S^2S (Stand Up To Suicide) Break the Silence provides a safe space for students to share their thoughts with their peers, garner healthy coping mechanisms, and gain access to their school’s resources such as social workers and counselors. The club provides opportunities for students to start honest conversations about the lasting effects of self-harm and suicide and to break the social stigma of admitting feelings of despair and depression.
S^2S provides peer-to-peer socialization opportunities for students who have been through difficult seasons, health and wellness information, and social services when necessary for students who are going through traumatic seasons.
S^2S Break the Silence was created by Micah Fagala, a member of the Fagala family that founded S2S and a Piedmont High School student, in order to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma on campus through peer-led activities and education.
The club is open to all students – those with mental health conditions, those with family members with a condition, or students who are interested in the fields of psychology, social work, or want to be allies and advocate for those with mental illness. S^2S Break the Silence is not intended to be a therapy group or a support group.
The overall intention of the club is to empower and equip club members and leaders to engage in advocacy activities that positively impact their school, families, and communities to become more supportive environments for individuals suffering from the effects of mental health.
S^2S Break the Silence is fundraising (you can donate here: https://www.sole2soulmission.org/donate) to provide a free app to all of the Union County School District students. The app would be available to download onto smartphones and device with access to nation and local mental health hotlines and resources as a one-stop-shop for students who are in crisis. Making this app available to all students for free will allow the club to operate as an advocacy group while still providing the life-saving supplemental health services the program cannot provide.
S^2S Break the Silence began as an offshoot of S2S because whether people are in need of support in either goods like shoes or services like support, the community should always come together for their neighbors.
Teenage suicide in the US is disproportionately higher in the 15 to 24 age group as compared with older adults with over 5,000 young adults recorded as taking their lives in the year of 2014. Shockingly, this makes suicide the second leading cause of death for high school and college-aged students.
Students are often faced with so many pressures to perform academically, in extracurriculars, and to be a good daughter/son, student, to work, to plan for their future, and at times the pressure in combination with lack of resources can lead to self-harm or suicide. S^2S Break the Silence is beginning to break that cycle of isolation and create conversations with students as school officials.
The program activities of S^2S Break the Silence include:
● Educate and increase the awareness of students, teachers, faculty, and school administration about mental health and wellness
● Be supportive of students who are living with mental illness
● Provide information on school and community resources
● Encourage people to recognize early signs of mental illness
● Encourage students who are having mental health issues to get help
● Work to end the stigma that surrounds mental illness
● Create an inclusive, safe, and supportive school environment
● Let students know where there is help available and encouraging them to seek it out should they need it
To learn more about S2S and S^2S or get involved by visiting: https://www.sole2soulmission.org/mission.