In the midst of the Holiday Season – from Hanukkah through Christmas and from Kwanzaa to Orthodox Christmas – the messages most of us see are ones filled with joy and happiness.
For some, though, this time of year is one filled with sadness.
Montgomery County and others are working to discourage suicide.
One of the ways is through education and outreach to people who are suffering.
A poster contest was recently conducted by the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
Two local students were among the top three individuals recognized for their artwork in this poster contest.
“This was our first year hosting one in the county, and we were so impressed with the talent of our local young people,” Ms. Anna Trout, Crisis and Diversion Director of the Office of Mental Health in the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
Ms. Hallie Ahrens, a senior at Abington Senior High School, won 1st place for this poster in the poster contest and was awarded $100.00. She is seen in the photograph below (holding the enlarged poster to the right side) with the Montgomery County Commissioners and members of the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force.
Ms. Rowan Blankemeyer, a 9th grade student at Upper Dublin High School, won 2nd place for this poster and was awarded $75.00. She is seen in the photograph below (in the center behind the enlarged poster) with the Montgomery County Commissioners and members of the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force.
The third place winner of the poster contest was Ms. Keira Moyer, an 8th grade student at Indian Crest Middle School; she produced this poster and was awarded $50.00. She is seen in the photograph below (to the right behind the enlarged poster) with the Montgomery County Commissioners and members of the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force.
“The posters are being shared through county social media accounts, hung at the Human Services Center in Norristown, are being made available to the winners’ schools, are on display at Brooke Glen Behavioral Health (the agency who sponsored the prizes), and additional copies are here in the Office of Mental Health for anyone who would like them to display in a place of business or community gathering spot,” explained Ms. Trout.
“The idea to bring a suicide prevention poster contest to Montgomery County came from one of our taskforce members, a mother who is a suicide loss survivor, an incredible prevention trainer, and a Peyton Heart Ambassador,” Ms. Trout continued. “We’re always looking for more people interested in contributing ideas or being a part of this work, and they are welcome to visit our website or contact our taskforce coordinator, Ms. Erin Hewitt, [via email].”
“We lose about 100 people a year to suicide in Montgomery County, and the goal of all of this work to get that number down to zero,” according to Ms. Trout.
“In Montgomery County, we have a Mobile Crisis Team that’s available 24/7 as a hotline and to provide in-person assistance,” Ms. Trout stated. “A person can call for themselves or a loved one. They are can be reached at 1-855-634-4673. We also have a Peer Support Talk Line at 1-855-715-8255, and a Teen Talk Line at 1-866-825-5856 (call) or 215-703-8411 (text). The national Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available from anywhere in the country 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (Veterans Press 1).”
The images of the posters and the photographs are provided by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, 2018.