To the Student Body,
The goal of TWLOHA is to raise awareness about depression, addiction, self-harm and suicide, and to support those whose lives are affected by these things.
We’ve all seen the Suicide Prevention videos at school—we all remember the jokes about “permanent naps” and feeling a little guilty for laughing at them. But the truth is that we also know how serious an issue this is for us. We all have known or at least known of someone who has taken or attempted to take his or her life. It may have been because of academic pressure and not feeling up to standard. It may have been because of bullying, homophobic or otherwise. It may have been a case of depression – terrible and unexplainable.
Those Suicide Prevention videos are getting a little better, but there is so much more to be done than to write “yes, I need a counselor’s help,” or “no, I don’t,” on a little slip of paper once a year. Education is important. Helping students know they are not alone is important. Making sure every person is aware of all of the reasons he or she is worthwhile is so, so important.
The Red Pen hopes to raise awareness of these issues and of their true nature—depression is not the same as “I’m a little sad.” It’s a serious, well-documented and well-researched medical illness. It can be related to a situation, but it doesn’t have to be, and it’s often not as simple as, “I’m upset because my boyfriend broke up with me.”
Please, take the time to educate yourself about depression and suicide. Take the time to look up movements like To Write Love on Her Arms. Take the time to make this issue something everyone takes seriously.
—The Red Pen