Break the Silence
Break the Silence is an initiative started at Piedmont High School to address the social and emotional needs of our students. Suicide and suicide attempts are serious public health problems that transcend gender, ethnicities and socioeconomic area codes. Often, teens find themselves struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety because of societal pressures or pervasive stigmas and misconceptions attached to mental health issues. Break the Silence is an education, awareness, and service club devoted to tackling these tough issues to bring hope. We have partnered with community groups such as Mental Health America, Union County System of Care, MTV, Monarch Health, Chipotle, NCG and Stone (Sun Valley 14) Theaters, Fox's Bowling Alley, and Stars and Stripes Designs (Summer Coble) to bring awareness to these health initiatives.
From 2006-2015, North Carolina residents ages 10 to 14 died as a result of violence. Of these violent deaths, 47% were suicide. Overall, the most common method of suicide among youth was firearms at 54%, followed by hanging/strangulation/suffocation 34%, and poisoning 6%.
UCPS has 40,000 students and according to the statistics, 1 out of 5 students will consider suicide, which means that 2,843 of UCPS students in the next 12 months will consider it!
Based on statistics for a school that has 1,000 students: (approximately)
- 158 students will seriously consider suicide
- 128 students will create a plan for suicide
- 78 students will actually attempt suicide
- 24 students will make an attempt that requires treatment by a doctor or nurse
Piedmont has five full-time school counselors who can meet with students in the Counseling Office to discuss any of the issues above. Our counselors are Sarah Higgins (9), Erica Henderson (10), Stacey Butera (11), and Sarah Mitchell and Joanna Ellis (12). In addition, there are other UCPS staff resources who can assist students with social/emotional needs. Club advisors include: Andy Fisher, Erica Henderson, and Janet Smith. A school counselor is present/available at all club meetings.
The following online resources are also available to students:
The Break the Silence Club regularly meets and is open to all students. Participating students must submit a signed permission form that can be downloaded here. Each meeting is an open forum with teachers and a school counselor present. Students should pay attention to the announcements for meeting dates and times.