Empower Youth Network raises awareness for youth suicide prevention

Logo for BeKindSV campaign. Courtesy of the Empower Youth Network.

Logo for BeKindSV campaign. Courtesy of the Empower Youth Network.

The Empower Youth Network (EYN) has proclaimed November as Kindness Month in the Snoqualmie Valley in an effort to raise awareness about youth suicide prevention efforts.

The #BeKindSV campaign is a part of the EYN’s youth suicide prevention program. It is year-round effort to encourage kindness in the Valley and its schools. The EYN says kindness is key to establishing regular and proactive support while reinforcing an inclusive environment and reducing youth suicide.

“It’s not only about being kind, but how being kind can increase community awareness and engagement,” said Sara Young, a prevention coordinator with EYN. “Through being kind, we can create prevention of youth suicide.”

The number of youth in the Snoqualmie Valley who reported seriously considering suicide was similar to state averages, according to the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey, which is a biannual survey by the state Department of Health and state superintendent to understand student health.

According to the 2018 survey, 22% of 10th-graders in the Snoqualmie Valley School District and 27% of 10th-graders in the Riverview School District reported seriously considering suicide. This is compared to 23% statewide.

#BeKindSV campaign was started as an anti-bullying campaign by a parent at Opstad Elementary in North Bend, before being launched and expanded as a pilot program by the EYN in 2019. This year, the program will be in all six SVSD elementary schools and is launching for the first time in the RSD.

The program kicked off at Eagle Rock Elementary in Duvall this month and will start at other schools throughout the year. The program’s goal is to get students excited about what they will be learning and educate them on how to practice and reinforce kindness and as well as model inclusion.

The program is asking the community to participate through daily kindness challenges during November, and sharing kindness stories year-round, on its BeKindSV Facebook page. It is also asking businesses and community members to take its kindness pledge.

EYN’s youth suicide prevention program also offers classes for high school students as part of its How to Help a Friend Program, where high school students serve as mentors and teachers to middle school students.

“I love seeing the community come together and have a common goal of being kind and preventing youth suicide,” Young said. “It’s been exciting to see how many people we can get engaged because it really does take a village.”

To learn more about the campaign, visit facebook.com/groups/BeKindSV.

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