HYPE-ing up healthy living

To recognize Suicide Prevention Month, Healthy Youth Peer Educators (HYPE) held a series of activities in September designed to raise awareness.  

The group passed out Encourage-Mints candy along with informative papers about Suicide Prevention Month at the beginning of the day on Sept. 23. 

Earlier in the week, HYPE went around lunch rooms during lunch periods asking OPRF students to write positive messages to someone who might be struggling on an orange or yellow Post-It Note. 

Ginger Bencola, HYPE’s faculty adviser, said, “I believe it is effective to reduce the stigma around talking about suicide and mental health challenges. The Post-It Note project and other suicide prevention activities encourage students to talk to friends and family in their life about their mental health and ways to get support.” 

HYPE did this activity last year, and students remember it. “I felt so nice and happy knowing someone was going to read that,” said senior Morgan Reckamp. “Spreading kindness is good for both sides of the conversation: a good karmic release.” 

This message resonated with other students as well. 

OPRF graduate Johnny Hugh was in the group for three years. “Once I heard what they’re about I was all in,” he said, adding that HYPE presents students with information that “could greatly impact their lives.” 

At a HYPE meeting during September, students brainstormed ways to spread the message about suicide prevention. Grace Hamilton, a senior who has been in the group for two years, explained that, “Our group works really well to come up with ideas. Even if we don’t end up landing on an idea, we’re still very strong supporters of each other, and we’re very creative.”