BY NOAH CASTAGNA
The CCHS chapter of the HOPE (Helping Overcome Problems Effectively) Sunshine Club held its Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week, which began on Monday, May 15 and concluded with the Hugs for HOPE 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, May 20.
One of the HOPE Sunshine Club’s ultimate goals is to foster an environment where students feel comfortable approaching topics like suicide and mental illness directly among their peers. During the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week, HOPE Club members took to the cafeteria with this very goal in mind, offering an open platform for discussion and advocating for a more informed approach to these sensitive issues.
“These are things that some students may not want to open up to their guidance counselor about,” HOPE Club member Atiya Pitaktrakul said. “No matter what problems people face in life, there needs to be something here for them.”
Their efforts throughout the week culminated in the 4th annual Hugs for HOPE 5K Run and Walk held at Markham Park on Saturday. The walk helped to raise money for the various HOPE Clubs throughout both Broward County and Miami-Dade County and bring the community together around positivity and understanding.
“The goal is to promote positive mental health and inform people so that they are able to be kind to others,” counselor Mrs. Neeck said. “And hopefully, to save lives.”
The HOPE Sunshine Club is an undertaking sponsored by the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention (FISP). The clubs are currently in 27 different schools (ranging from middle schools to colleges) and have saved 12 student lives in the last 4 years. Current programs include support groups for those that have lost a loved one to suicide as well as educational programs and tours.
“There are a lot of things we just don’t talk about, as far as emotions go,” FISP representative Nate Andre said. “We need to discuss how to deal with these feelings in the right way in our communities, and nobody is talking about it.”
For more information regarding the HOPE Sunshine Club, other FISP initiatives and how to support them, visit https://fisponline.org or call 954-384-0344.
Featured photo courtesy of Kzenon/shutterstock.com