Death by suicide affects almost every aspect of the communities in which they take place. In El Paso County, the rates of death by suicide for students from 10 to 18 years-old have doubled in recent years. EFL wanted to help serve in addressing this unprecedented rise by partnering with Mayfield Counseling Centers to co-produce Who Can Relate, a presentation specifically for students.
Who Can Relate is designed to prompt students to identify who needs them, who loves them, and where they find their value. We believe that when students recognize they are needed, valued and loved, their risk of suicide will decrease and increase students’ optimal health outcome. It is designed to be an adjunct to current school curriculums, like Signs of Suicide, and programs like Sources of Strength. The presentation is relatable with sensitivity and consideration to students who have experienced thoughts of suicide, bullying, cutting, abusive relationships, etc. It provides a different approach to this serious topic of suicide that aims to get students to identify their value and self-worth rather than focus on the negative outcomes of death by suicide. It is conversation
Who Can Relate is more than just having students say “I get it,” it is about students recognizing they are needed, valued, and loved; while empowering them to tell others that they too are needed, valued, and loved.
Some of the most common feedback EFL hears from students in a classroom is the way people within their social groups (parents, friends, school administration) approach the subject of suicide. First, they often feel as though parents either do not want to have the conversation about suicide or over-react to it. Second, they can often feel judged or shamed by their friends, and third, they fear punishment from school administration rather support and assistance. Education for a Lifetime’s goal is to create proactive conversations with students about the subject of suicide in a vulnerable and genuine way. After hearing the Who Can Relate presentation, students leave the classroom challenged to identify and communicate they themselves, and their peers, are needed, loved, and valued.
We have three videos of suicide survivors already produced and have a physical presentation created, which was presented to 2,900 students in 16 schools in 2018-2019 School year.