BHS Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Club Celebrates National Mental Health Month By Raising Awareness of Resources Available to Students

By Trina Runner on May 14, 2018 via

May in National Mental Health Month and Bridgeport High School students are doing their part to raise awareness of resources available to help reduce the stigma of mental illness.  Last November, a group of student and community volunteers were trained in suicide prevention techniques and formed a Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Club, the first in West Virginia.
“The National Yellow Ribbon Club was created in 1994 after a young man named Mike Emme died by suicide and his friends and family wanted to raise awareness so others would know how to help,” said BHS Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Club President Derek Hess.  “The ribbons were yellow because it was the color of his Mustang and the club is in high schools across the United States.  Bridgeport is the first one in West Virginia and we are really excited that there is so much interest in such an important club.”
On Wednesday, students were greeted with yellow ribbons and informational handouts as they entered the school in the morning.  Each day this week, suicide facts and resources were given on Indian Insider, the school’s announcement media system. 
“We want people to know they are not alone,” said Hess.  “We want to get the conversation going about depression and anxiety and make sure students have a safe place to seek help.”
The club meets every Wednesday and will participate in the official Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program training all day on May 23.  Through this training, they will find community resources for mental health, learn how to listen effectively and how to refer fellow students for help.
Also, on May 23, adults are invited to undergo training in Safe Talk, a suicide prevention program that allows community members to create a supportive network and referral system.  Michelle Toman of the West Virginia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be providing both of the training initiatives at Bridgeport High School.
Those who are interested in participating in the training can get additional information at

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