Benjamin peer counselors brought the #BeThe1To campaign to the upper school in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week. The goal of the campaign, launched by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, is to raise awareness about suicide prevention, reduce the stigma around suicide and mental health, and encourage those in need to utilize available resources.
Peer counselor Julie Moquin spoke during an upper school virtual assembly the morning of September 9. Moquin acknowledged that life has become more stressful for many amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to reach out to our peers, friends, and family members and ask if there is anything on their minds,” said Moquin. “Check in with them, spend time with them, support them, cheer for them, empower them. Together we can be the ones to make a difference; we can be the ones to save a life,” said Moquin.
Peer counselors have been distributing #BeThe1To mask stickers throughout the week, and have placed resource flyers and posters around campus.
Dr. Renea Yates, Student Services Counselor at the upper school, said that now, more than ever, it is important for our community to come together for each other, to share stories of hope and resilience, and to foster human connection.
“As our school community deals with the ongoing stress and uncertainty around the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that we all have a role to play in promoting connectedness, belonging, resiliency, and prevention,” said Yates. “I love the message our Peer Counselors are promoting in their BeThe1To campaign. We can all be the ones to prevent isolation, feelings of loneliness or hopelessness. We can all be the ones to offer a kind word or gesture, a listening ear, a smile, an invite . . . the ones to reach out, to ask, to support, to save a life.”
Yates has spearheaded a variety of additional mental health resources available to both students and faculty at the upper school, including a recently launched newsletter Counselor Connection.