It is sobering to read articles like this one. It puts me in an introspective mood, less on my own mental state, but one born out of concern for those I love. Suicide is a dismal reality, and the factors involved in the process can be unlimited. As educators, or future educators, knowing that suicide is a real, active thing is important. We have to be aware of the signs and the concerns. It is encouraging to hear that many of the elite colleges like Yale are possibly taking steps to lessen the affect they have on students trying to make difficult academic decisions.
For those who are going into an educational setting prior to college, such as a middle or high school, there is a great responsibility toward students. Students in K-12 are still under the dependency on their parents. They have yet to make big decisions independently that could change the course of their life. It is at this time, before the students leave their nests, that secondary education teachers have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students. Recognizing the signs of depression or anxiety is important. Know resources that can be provided to help and assist troubled students. A teacher is in a great positions to become an example of humility and perseverance for students that are struggling, showing them that the current situation is changeable and won’t determine the outcome of their life if they don’t allow it.
I wish that there were more students like Ms. DeWitt, who faced her problems, got help, and overcame suicidal ideation. I believe that every student can respond in a positive way if they are struggling, and that is why it is important to build a strong base during a young person’s early life.