Members of Fremd community spread awareness on Yellow Ribbon Day

Viking Logue Staff

In growing efforts to prevent and spread awareness about suicide, students and teachers around the U.S. wore yellow shirts in honor with Yellow Ribbon Day, sponsored by the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, on Thursday, Sept. 18. While the goal of the day is efficiently explained in the words “suicide prevention,” many students do not know how the organization came to being. This story, along with its many successes in preventing a teen suicide, has led to the program’s widespread recognition.

The Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program began in 1994 when Dale and Dar Emme’s son, Mike, committed suicide at 17 years old. Mike’s parents created the program in order to both inform their community on suicide prevention and provide a helping hand for teenagers who sought, or need to seek, guidance. They chose the color yellow in memoriam of Mike’s locally-known yellow Mustang that he had refurbished from scratch. Both an initial goal and core value of the program is to give teenagers an outlet to find words for help—as often times, people either feel no one wants to hear them or they do not know how to verbalize their problems. The program clarifies this goal in their slogan “It’s OK to Ask4Help.”

While the prevention program has been successful in spreading at least its name to schools in the U.S., the other part of its success can only be made possible when those schools foster an environment that allows students to comfortably express their feelings and communicate their struggles without confrontation, neglect or a passive ear. However, the responsibility to hear out a student’s problems does not just lay on the shoulders of a school’s authority figures. The peers of these students must be receptive to his or her problems, whether or not they have known about the issue or not.

It is the duty of any school’s students, who facilitate social interaction in and outside of class, to be welcoming to all of their peers and to make themselves more available to provide help. Such help can even be in the form of random acts of kindness, in which one student has the opportunity to aid another in any way possible at any given time. It is these deeds that often make people feel appreciated. Being willing to offer a hand can be one student’s role in helping his peer cope with stressors and avoid what the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program calls “the last straw.” This cause, supported by the Viking Logue Editorial Staff, can be championed by informing peers and adults of the factors leading to teen suicide.

For more information and the opportunity to donate to the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, visit www.yellowribbon.org.