Suicide Awareness

Suicide Awareness

West Bloomfield High School has a mission to stay as one. In order to complete that goal and not to fall, there are ways that we as a school can put a stop to all negativity. The biggest case is suicide. Each student needs to be aware of the things that goes on around them. The WBHS counselors are well aware and prepared to face all hardships. In this school, we have counselors in the building who are trained and ready to help all those who step into their office. I sat down with counselor, Monica Burgess, and she shared with me her opinions and what she could do to help service the students at West Bloomfield High School.

Q: In regards to suicide awareness, what advice or suggestions do you have for students and parents?

“I think one of the things we have always asked students to do is not to be afraid to alert an adult if they have a friend who is in trouble. If that student has expressed any negative feelings, concerns, or refers cutting or harming themselves, then seek an adult. If speaking with a parent then hopefully that parent will either contact the parent of the student, and/or contact  the school counselor so that we can intervene. Typically with kids, they really want someone to reach out and help. It’s kind of like asking for help without using the words. They want someone to do something to stop them from feeling that way. The bigger thing is to communicate, communication is big. When you are in groups with your friends and you hear your friends talk. You are smart enough  to know when things don’t sound right, you may need to ask for some input or help from an adult, but then do that.”

Q: Do you feel as though a therapist in the school during certain hours is appropriate?  If so, why or why not?

“I don’t really know. But I do know that there are enough qualified personnel in this building who can help. So if there is something more that is needed they can make referrals. We are not mental health clinicians, however we’ve all been trained how to manage crisis.”

Q: Are there legal issues?

“Yes, there are legal issues.”

Q: If students are not comfortable with talking to teachers and staff, what do you suggest to do?

“ I would like to think they could talk to their parents however I know that is not always the case. If there is an adult that they feel comfortable with even, if it is another friend’s parent. That friend’s parent could reach out and be the intermediary between the student’s parent and or the school personnel. I would like to think that there is at least one person that they could talk to. But everybody needs to remember classroom teachers were not trained to be clinicians. Many of them have good ears, hearts, and are sympathizers to do what they were trained for. Teachers and friends are alerting us of the issues or concerns so that we can reach out and touch, which is helpful.”

Q: In comparison from when you first started working at WB, what changes have you seen?

“There seems to be an increase in both stress levels and anxiety levels. The anxiety levels now are probably more than I’ve seen in the past three years. In my opinion this is probably the worst year. I think everyone is just a little anxious about everything.  Everyone in the building, not just the students, is concerned about everyone else.”

For those students who need extra support, Ms. Burgess also suggested to go to the Suicide Hotline website. This will allow those who need to speak out, will do so in confidentiality. The website is and the phone number is 1 (800) 273-8255.