Announcing a Suicide

In Spring 2016, I facilitated a graduate seminar titled Youth Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Response. For the class final, the seven of us wrote a group paper that took into account all the facets of suicide we discussed throughout the semester. It’s a simulated press release about a simulated suicide. To prepare for the writing of this paper, we created the story line, the plot, and the characters of the simulated suicide.

Here’s what we, as journalists writing the piece, know about the situation:

We are: A High School Student News Paper

Who completed suicide: John Doe… Youth/Student Suicide… Male… Senior… Jock… Football QB… 17yo… Hunter with access to guns… Suburban school… End of spring, before graduation… Pressure from sports scouting and college choice… Found at home by self-inflicted gunshot… Found by sister… Shadowed by older brother’s success… Compelled to live up to expectations…

Family background: Older male sibling in college sports; younger sister, freshman in school; parents separated, going through divorce;

Additional factors: Memorial by family… Read name at graduation: Yes… Jersey number retired… 2,000 students in school…

As a class, we compiled the follow hypothetical article for the school newspaper:

The Anywhere High School Student Newspaper—Special Issue, May 2015

ANYWHERE, USA—May 14, 2015

John Doe passed away on May 11, 2015 in his home in Anywhere, USA. He was a senior at Anywhere High School, well-loved by his friends and family. Friends described John as, “a good person to always be around,” and he was “always there to listen, and help people with their problems.”

He was a successful student athlete, leading the Anywhere Anythings football team to a 37-8 victory over the Nowhere Nothings in the conference championship game. In memory of John’s contributions to the school’s team spirit, his jersey number, #18, will be retired. His jersey will be displayed in the gymnasium, along with the 2015 Championship banner.

A candlelight memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at 2:30 PM on the football field. Students and staff who wish to attend will be excused at 2:30.

Visitation will held on Saturday, May 16 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at Anything Congregational Church in Anywhere. Private services will be held by the family.

Students are welcome to stop in and talk with grief counselors during the weeks of May 18th and May 25th. Walk-in counselors will be available from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the student support services office.

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Disclaimer: This was a group project written by seven students. Names have been concealed for privacy.