FCCLA project brings CHS students suicide awareness

A Family, Career and Community Leaders of America project provided hundreds of Cameron High School students tools for preventing suicide in their community as part of a program by Moms Breaking the Silence. 

Rachel Riddle and Gabbie McQueen, CHS student both impacted by suicide, said they wanted a project that had a lasting impact on the student body and foster an atmosphere where those in need can seek help without having a stigma attached. 

“We just want to let people know we’re an open door. We’ve gone through it, and we want people to know it’s OK. You can seek help,” McQueen said. 

As part of the program, Angie Wallace and Tosha Shoush from the Bethany-based Moms Breaking the Silence held two sessions for CHS underclassmen and upperclassmen. By sharing how suicide impacted their lives, they outlined an approach encouraging those in need to seek help, and how to respond to their peers in the event of a crisis. At one point, Wallace requested a show of hands for how many students in the audience effected by suicide. When nearly the entire crowd raised their hand, Riddle said an unspoken truth had finally come out. 

“As soon as she said that, I leaned over to Gabbie. I was kind of surprised. You really don’t see that. People don’t really talk about it,” she said.

Wallace said Moms Breaking the Silence opens a dialogue, which makes students less hesitant to seek help from a friend, teacher or school counselor.

“It is imperative we not only get to the teens, but the young ones too. They’re also struggling. We’re talking as young as 5 or 6 years old … They want to be heard,” Wallace said. “It’s important to use to let teachers, counselors and their peers know that people are going to walk away from here a little bit more inclined to tell somebody their story. That’s what we’re encouraging them to do. Being receptive to that is very, very important.”

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