North Medford High School senior presents suicide prevention project at assembly

MEDFORD, Ore. — North Medford High School students attended a unique assembly this morning.

North Medford senior, Hannah Ross, was inspired to spread awareness around suicide prevention after going through some hard times last year.

“I didn’t really want to talk to an adult because number one, I didn’t feel comfortable and I am a pretty shy person,” said Ross.

It was after a leadership class that Ross met Jill Jeter, a crisis communication specialist with the Medford School District.

“In April I went into leadership classrooms to hear ‘Do you guys feel like suicide is a problem at your school? Do we need more mental health awareness?’ and it was unanimous across the entire class that we need peer trainings,” said Jeter.

Over 100 students at North have now received the signs of suicide training. It teaches them to recognize warning signs of serious depression and thoughts of suicide and act quickly by involving a trusted adult.

“Talk about it and how to be comfortable talking about it. How to be comfortable with the un-comfortable, I guess,” said Ross.

For her senior project Ross came up with the idea of designing t-shirts for the trained students to wear, both at Monday’s assembly and on the first day of every month.
That way, anyone struggling can easily spot a peer who can help.

“Just wanted be able to motivate others through challenges that you make, be able to push yourself and pick yourself up again,” she said.

Jeter says it’s been a completely student-led effort in partnership with United Way.

“United Way paid for the shirts, had the shirts screen-printed and delivered them,” she said.

As Ross’ senior project is taking off, she hopes that her idea can expand to other local schools.

“I want to train not just at North Medford High School but hopefully expand into the whole school district,” said Ross.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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