South Students Make Video in Support of Suicide Awareness
On Nov. 24 Camilo Hart ’21 published a video on Youtube called “Having the Hard Talk About Teen Suicide.” In the video he encourages the Salem-Keizer school district to teach more about suicide awareness and prevention. Following two tragic deaths in our school community, he felt lead to take a stand on this issue. On the day of the elections, Nov. 6, he even published an editorial in the Statesman’s titled “The Seriousness of Suicide Should be Taught in our Schools.” His 25 minute long video features two of his close friends Julecia Smith ’21 and Emma Langford ’21, who are also passionate about the need for mental health education. Allied Video Productions- a film company in Salem, Oregon, donated their studio space and helped film the video.
Before filming, all participants signed a contract, giving their consent to have the video published online. They went over the questions asked in the video and were given the decision to skip over questions that cause discomfort. In the video, all of them encouraged students to have open-ended discussions about suicide and depression.
“I hope more kids who are going through a hard time feel that there’s hope and that there’s people out there who will support them. It is good to talk about the emotional conversations because they should have their own support system and it is available if they need it,” Hart said.
Langford felt that ending the stigma around mental illness will provide a gateway to important conversations and suicide prevention.
“People aren’t always comfortable with talking about suicide and they don’t know how to approach talking about it… That can cause problems when we don’t talk about it,” Langford said.
Smith believes that a big factor in suicide prevention is communication and observing details.
“Be aware of people around you and what’s going on. Make sure to check up on people when they seem a little down, because you never know a person’s situation and a thing like that could happen to anyone,” Smith said.
Hart continues to be an advocate for suicide awareness. He hopes to make another video that discusses resources for people with depression. He is also a strong believer in political activism and taking a stand as a collective group.
“I have been talking with a couple of people and we might plan a march in Salem to advocate for the awareness in Salem-Keizer schools,” Hart said. “I want to show that there are a lot of us who take it seriously and hope that change comes soon.”
Hart hopes that more students will become advocates for suicide awareness and encourages people to watch his video for more information.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255