Breaking the Stigma: Stories from the Students Vol. 1

The month of September is possibly the most important month of the year for me. No, not because it’s the start of school; nor having to start college applications; nor the start of the fall season; not even the fact that my parents’ anniversary is at the end of the month of September. The month of September is one of the most important months for me because of what it represents, what it is trying to bring awareness to: suicide prevention.

Over the course of the past year, I have become vocal regarding mental health and suicide prevention. Around this time last year, I published a piece about Suicide Awareness Week and my own personal connection to suicide. 

Back then I was so focused on the world around me, and focused so little on myself. I piled myself with tons and tons of work and never really prioritized myself. 

I have to admit, back then, I was pretty hypocritical: I internalized everything and even lied to my friends and family about my needs and about my anxiety. Then, one fateful day in October, I had an epiphany: I needed help.

After a five-week-long intensive inpatient program, I returned back to school and tried to prioritize my mental health over my coursework, extracurriculars, and the stress of my social life.

I have grown as a person since last October, since this past January, since the beginning of quarantine, since last month, last week, and since yesterday. Each day I’m growing and I want to share my story with everyone who is reading my story right now.

On September 1, in honor of Suicide Awareness month, I tried to make up for my past mistake of internalizing my struggles by becoming more vocal on social media. I, along with many of my peers, have stepped forward with their stories to help break the stigma.

For the next few weeks in honor of Suicide Awareness month, students’ stories of their own mental health struggles will be shared on The Forest Scout to highlight how struggling with your mental health is okay, and to convince others to not be like me and internalize their emotions for so long.

Struggling is normal. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Mental illness is more common than you think, and the sooner we all as students and a community realize this, the closer we are to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health.

Trigger warning: this story mentions suicide. For help, please visit/call/email:

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Text-A-Tip: For Lake County, text LAKECO to 1-844-823-5323

LFHS Student Support Service Social Workers:

Lisa Huffman [email protected]

Maggie Harmsen [email protected]

Dan Maigler [email protected] 

‘Trust the Process’
‘I’m realizing that my story can help others’
‘Keeping silent is far more painful’
‘I had so many thoughts in my mind and nowhere to put them’
‘I put on a smile while crumbling on the inside’

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