Last May, a 17-year-old Warwick High School senior took her own life less than two weeks before graduation.
A few months later in the beginning of this school year, the nightmare repeated when a 15-year-old boy also committed suicide.
“The topic is very real and raw to our school community, and so, this was a good time to bring the community back to say, ‘Again, we need your help with resiliency factors and educating students about them,'” said Kristy Szobocsan, Warwick High School principal.
Mental health professionals who provide screenings and resources to Warwick students said kids everywhere, including Warwick, are seriously hurting.
“Even just with our program, every year, our statistics increase of our kids who we identify as needing support,” said Janelle Boguski, Teen Hope coordinator.
To help ease the pain, Warwick officials hosted an event that focused on mental health education.
“There still is the stigma that mental health isn’t real, and it is very real, and we still battle this stigma that if you have a mental health illness, there’s something wrong with you, and that’s not true,” Szobocsan said.
“Talking about it is going to help kids open up, get the help that need. Kids are already thinking about these things, and it doesn’t do anything to not talk about it,” Boguski said.
Officials said the most valuable action anyone can take is becoming an ally and listening.
“It only takes one positive adult to change the trajectory of a student’s life. So, we want to educate our staff and our community: you could be that adult,” Szobocsan said.
It’s often said that troubles are like passing storms, but Warwick officials said it’s up to the community to know when someone needs an umbrella.
“Life does get better. It gets easier,” Boguski said.
Warwick isn’t the only school district talking about suicide prevention. Harrisburg School District sent out a letter to parents that addressed suicide warning signs and resources available for students.