GREAT FALLS — Some CMR students are spending the lunch hour spreading a message about suicide prevention - letting their fellow students know that no matter how difficult things may seem, there’s hope.
“I have friends that suffer from it and there’s also staff that suffers from anxiety, depression, etcetera,” said sophomore Madison Christopherson. “So we kind of just wanted to bring more awareness to let them know that they’re not alone.”
When Christopherson and fellow sophomore Macie Wheeler realized there was no organized effort at the school to recognize Suicide Awareness Month, they came up with “There’s Hope.”
The idea went from posters to t-shirt giveaways to getting fellow students to express how they’re feeling.
“We started out with the sticky notes to write down how you feel, and for everything to be free because it’s high school,” said Christopherson.
“After you write down in your sticky notes how you are feeling today, we’re going to put them up on construction paper and then once we hang it up, people are going to realize, 'Oh, I’m not the only one feeling anxious today,' so students realize they’re not alone in what they’re feeling.”
The pair got a $250 grant from Thrivent Financial and a $2,500 grant from the Little Shell Tribe to fund the project, which includes more than 100 t-shirts, gift bags, and daily giveaways during a week in October.
“Teachers can always ask how you’re feeling but it’s a lot different when it comes from your actual peers, knowing that your same age group is feeling that way, too,” said Wheeler.
They’ve started an Instagram page and plan to expand the effort across town at Great Falls High School, shedding light on a dark subject.
“I know a couple people who’ve lost people to suicide and it’s just a big, big problem in our world right now,” said Christopherson.
The students are hoping their efforts gain momentum each year, keeping it going and even building it up to a senior project.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available. The National Suicide Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or texting “MT” to 741 741.