(Photo illustration by May Do)
Buena Park High School

Minds Matter: Buena Park emphasizes the importance of suicide prevention and awareness

Students nationwide are experiencing societal changes that can cause lasting psychological impacts.

According to data released from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death among ages 10-24 in 2017.

At Buena Park High School, the efforts to raise awareness for suicide prevention have become increasingly prominent.

Starting last year, all student ID cards provided information on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This follows Senate Bill No. 972 Chapter 460, which the California Legislation Information published in 2018.

Heather Linane, Buena Park High School psychologist, shared the importance of talking with others.

“A long time ago, people used to believe the more you talked about suicide, the more likely people would want to commit suicide, but people do not become suicidal because we talk about it. Instead, talking helps prevent people from acting on it,” Linane said.

Senior Laisha Santillan hopes that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline information on ID cards will encourage students to get help when needed.

“It’s a valuable resource because many people don’t want to tell other people about it, or that they are experiencing things like this. It offers the anonymity so students can still use it without other people knowing,” she said.

Crystal Crawford, an assistant principal at Buena Park High School, agreed with Santillan on the benefits of having this information on an easy-to-access platform.

“We put that number on the ID card because every student gets an ID card. For those students who may be having some family issues or mental challenges, and they don’t feel comfortable talking to their friends, teachers, or family members, it might be beneficial to those students because they can reach out and get help,” Crawford said.

In addition to student resources, there has also been a new addition of administrative support as well. According to Fullerton Joint Union High School District Mental Health Coordinator, Carlos Alcantara, there have been new efforts to educate teachers and administration about the social-emotional needs of students.

“We are moving to something called social-emotional learning. It is also important to realize we also have social-emotional needs just like academic needs. So, the schools are definitely launching more information and training towards educations, teachers, and administrators to help address that, to teach it, and to recognize it,” Alcantara said.

Crawford added on to the discussion of social-emotional learning.

“The administration team has meetings every Tuesday. We sit down and collaborate to address different concerns we have,” Crawford said.

Through these difficult and unprecedented times, Buena Park High School administration and faculty are determined to get students the help they may need.

“We care about you guys as students, not about just your academics. We care about everything that comes along with it. We want to help you grow and become the people you are destined to become, including your social emotions,” Alcantara said.