The Kirkwood Call

Suicide Awareness Week (SAW) 2018

Richard Pfeifer, features writer

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With slam poetry, food trucks and live music overlapping suicide statistics written in chalk on the sidewalk, April 6 marked the culmination of the 2018 Suicide Awareness Week (SAW) at KHS. This year’s SAW, backed by the KHS journalism department and counseling staff, included informational campaigns and activities leading up to Friday’s columniation. The week, prior to Friday’s columniation, involved students writing what they stood for on whiteboards on Monday followed by “Resource Day,” which involved counselor outreach, on Tuesday, statistics on the schools concrete walkways on Wednesday and a guest speaking by Dr. Phil Campbell at an event Thursday during homeroom.  

Food trucks from Sia’s Italian Ice, Blues Fired Pizza and Frankly Artisan Sausages along with a student band met dozens of and staff students who later marched around the school campus. According to Olivia Rau, senior and SAW committee member, unlike previous years, she and the rest of the SAW committee had to take into account recent local events concerning suicide and mental health.

“After this year’s [death of Brian Stieglitz] we knew that this year’s [SAW] was evermore important,” Rau said. “The student body was hurting, the teachers were hurting, everyone was hurting [and] we needed to come together as a community. Instead of pushing the topic of suicide away because of Brian’s death, we needed to raise more awareness and create a conversation.”  

 One of SAW’s goals, along with raising suicide awareness, is to “end the stigma” around suicide and according to Cameron Henry, junior and performer at Friday’s culmination, music provides a great opportunity to do just that. Henry, along with Aly Terry, Kenan Dogan, Joanna Serenko, juniors, and Merrick Schneider, senior, performed a variety of songs they believed had a connection to the topic of the week.

“It’s very easy to talk about [mental health and suicide] through music,” Henry said. “All the songs we chose, we chose very deliberately. Mental health is something we need to talk about.”

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Kirkwood High School student newspaper
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