Ridge Reaches Out

Ridge Reaches Out

Last Tuesday, October 30th, Mountain Ridge helped put on a suicide prevention event alongside its feeder schools. This event was meant for adults and students in grades 6th-12th and its goal was to inform the community about mental health, anxiety, and suicide.

This event was the idea of Sharon Wieser, the principal of Terramar Elementary. She was in charge of organizing the event with other principals in the Mountain Ridge region, including schools like Highland Lakes, Arrowhead, Copper Creek, Sierra Verde, Legend Springs, and Hillcrest Middle School. According to Ms. Miranda, this is the first time, both in our school and district, put on an event like this.

“There are more documented and recorded incidences of mental health needs. It’s pervasive through our school communities, and as a region [Mountain Ridge and all of its feeder schools] decided that we were going to host a regional informational night on suicide prevention,” Miranda says.

The event consisted of guest speakers, activities, and raffles. The audience was split into two groups: adults and students. Each group was sent off to either hear from licensed professional counselor, Jill McMahon, or from the founders of an organization called “For the Love of Travis”. In McMahon’s session, she shared about the signs of suicide and how to help someone who is hurting.

According to Wieser, McMahon’s goal was to provide a safe space for someone who is struggling with loss and to provide hope to those in need. “For the Love of Travis” is an organization that was founded in 2016 after the loss of Travis Perry, who had committed suicide. This organization is sponsored by Travis’ parents, David and Melanie Perry, and is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the areas of depression and suicide prevention. According to Wieser, this organization includes information about diagnosis, education, research, and treatment, with an emphasis on adolescents.

A big part of “For the Love of Travis” is the “You Rock Project”. This project was an activity the groups participated in, in which they painted rocks with positive messages on them. The goal of this project is to spread positivity to those who may be having a bad day. These rocks are placed all around the campuses of the schools and in the community of those who participated. For a fun touch, there were also a variety of businesses that Wieser partnered with that provided items for a raffle.

“I just know that there is just this growing body of awareness, and with awareness, we have to back that up with some kind of action,” Miranda states. “A lot of us just have the philosophical belief that it isn’t just the houses of worship that are hubs of a community, but that schools are also.”

This event was inspired by the need to bring the community together to spread awareness for this serious topic. According to Miranda, Wieser, and one of the Ridge counselors, Ms. Dyal, the event was a success. It brought in around 45 students and over 60 adults that got the chance to learn something new about suicide prevention and about spreading kindness into the community. The takeaway was that those present were given important resources for helping those in need. Dyal states that her goal was to obtain more information about how she could utilize prevention resources on our campus.

“I think it was successful because at least we created the conditions for the dialog to start and continue among parents and students in our community,” Miranda states. “So in that realm alone, I think it was highly successful.”