Suicide Awareness and its Effects on Students


Suicide and its effects are everywhere, however, most signs are under the surface. Many people are affected in some way by suicide, be it a family member, a friend, or themselves. The causes of suicide are deep and sometimes hard to pinpoint. Most suicides are caused by depression, self-esteem issues, or the illness/death of a family member. But the most prominent cause is bullying of a person by another, whether it be by face-to-face or in an ever growing digital and social media world, behind a key board with cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a very real threat as the perpetrator can hide behind an anonymous ID, allowing for the victim never knowing who was behind the attack. Many times this is hard for the victim to find solace knowing that if they tell someone very little can be done. All of this brings us to now as we here at Cocoa High think about the suicide awareness meeting we had in our auditorium.

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit organization “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” They want to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery. Since their beginning in 2007 they have delivered 200,000 messages, traveled 3.3 million miles, and over one-thousand blog posts. Jamie Tworkowski said in an interview with me “twenty million people in America struggle with depression, and untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide and among young people [High school or College aged] suicide is the third leading cause of death. And two out of three people with depression don’t get the help they need.”

It all started out when a friend of Jamie, “Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn’t slept in 36 hours and she won’t for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol.” After they met she did not want to go to rehab yet she then took a razor blade and wrote across her left forearm “F*&% UP”. “The nurse at the treatment center found the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her”. This leads Jamie to help her himself in his living room. He ordered shirts with “To write love on her arms” on them and the whole story on the inside and sold them to help pay for Renee’s rehab. From that point on they started helping other people too, by finding them medications, rehabilitation centers, and emotional support.

When Jamie visited us in our auditorium a couple weeks ago, he had a simple message, “Stay.”  When we go about our everyday lives here at Cocoa High School and in the world around us, it’s important for us to spread the message “Stay” and to do our part to make our fellow students and humans feel valued and wanted in this world.  It’s important that we all take a stand against anything or anyone that would seek to devalue another person.  Just think- you might be the one who saves a life.