At a recent JJAB Board meeting, a local group of teens expressed gratitude and shared their success. The Reach Toward Not Away team began their presentation by playing their theme song, “You Can Count On Me.” And count on them we have! They helped more than 300 LAHS students pledge to Reach Toward Not Away when they or a friend is feeling suicidal or talking about hurting themselves. The great news is it is working.
Team founder Sopahn Kellogg explained how Reach Toward Not Away is a positive outreach plan to equip LAHS students with tools to help themselves and each other when someone feels stressed, anxious, depressed or threatening to hurt themselves. The goals of taking a pledge, signing it with a witness and sharing time with others are simple yet evidence based behaviors that support teens staying healthy and connected.
Installing the APP, phone and chat line contacts are so students have a place to reach towards and not feel completely alone and have resources to decrease stress. Students can feel empowered that they can do something when someone is in trouble. Social psychology research demonstrates how people are more committed to something, usually without cognitive awareness, when they have signed a commitment like the Reach Toward Not Away pledge. Going together to hang out and get a smoothie or sandwich is for students to share an experience, realize that they belong and to enjoy some low stress time socializing.
Team member, Jared Mang followed up with the great news that, “You can count on us as the team exceeded our goal – more than 25 percent, 311 to be exact, LAHS took the pledge and downloaded the APP and outreach contact numbers.” Margaret Wright thanked all the community and business sponsors and presented giant thank you cards to the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, JJAB, Ruby Ks and Dr. Tom Csanadi.
Additional thanks went to the United Way of Northern New Mexico and the group’s parent and community advisory council. Another member, Rachel Reynolds described a few problems they had with not getting proper set up support, announcements read or their theme song played but, “Regardless of any struggles we reached hundreds of kids and already it is working! I personally feel better about my life when I can support someone else.”
Judge Allan Kirk presented each team member with a certificate of appreciation and congratulations on a job well done. They responded with a heartfelt thank you to the Judge for his years of service to the teens of Los Alamos.
Sopahn also reported to the Daily Post that Reach Toward Not Away has more funds available if there are other groups at the school or in the community who would like to participate. “One of the greatest things happened to me at school this week. A girl stopped me and said that her friend was feeling suicidal and because of Reach Toward Not Away, together they used the APP, found an adult and got the help they needed.” This is the third report this week that the Reach Toward Not Away team has heard about.
The Reach Toward Not Away team says, “We know our community needs Suicide Prevention all year long, not just during Suicide Awareness month and that suicide concerns are for all ages. Please play the song, upload the APP and the support line numbers and join us in Reach Toward Not Away.”
Theme song: “You Can Count On Me” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJYXItns2ik
- Nick Torres • Margaret Wright • Rachael Reynolds • Jared Mang • Jacqui Hargraves • Sopahn Kellogg
Thank you to generous Sponsors
- JJAB • Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos • Ruby Ks • Dr. Tom Csanadi
Following are the three free resources the team shares with LAHS students:
An phone AP to guide a student through seeking help when they or a friend are thinking about self harm.
Stress and Anxiety Helpline and Chat room:
A 24 hour help line to call or a chat room to enter when life feelings overwhelming.
New Mexico Homework Hotline
A NM teacher run free homework hotline Monday through Thursday 4:30-8:30 p.m.