September, October dedicated to suicide, mental health awareness


Counselor Zach Butler’s door, along with those of the other counselors, is always open to students. (photo by Merritt Hartsell)

Merritt Hartsell, Staff Writer

As September is Suicide Prevention Month and Mental Health Week is Oct. 2-8, HHS counselors and teachers are highlighting the importance of students managing their well-being.

Most people’s lives have been impacted by suicide in some way, but the stigma around suicide keeps it from being talked about. 

But junior class counselor and Peer Helper sponsor Zachary Butler disapproves of this societal norm. He believes people should discuss suicide more often so it can be prevented.

“There are warning signs I want everyone to be able to recognize,” Butler said. “I want these things to be prevented before they happen.”

Suicide awareness signs are located in various places around the school (Photo by Merritt Hartsell)

Butler has made many efforts to make Homewood a safe space where all students can go and feel comfortable telling someone what they are battling. 

“My mission in life is to help people,” he said. Butler has strong relationships with students and always makes it his job to reach out to each individual. He said it comes naturally to him to be someone that supports and is willing to help in any way he can.

Counselors at HHS are always available to talk to and be someone to lean on in a time of need.

Teacher of world history and Peer Helper sponsor Mallory Killam led efforts to raise awareness at HHS this month. She said she understands how small things can make a difference in someone’s life and wanted to amp up the month’s importance at Homewood.

“I wanted to share my experiences with students and be someone who understands how much this impacts students,” Killam said. 

This is Killam’s third year at Homewood, but she has always had a passion for improving students’ lives. She wants to continue highlighting the importance of this month at Homewood and inspire others to help spread suicide awareness.

In other efforts this month, Homewood encourages the student body to attend the Out of the Darkness Walk. The walk is to raise funds and awareness for suicide and show people they are not alone in their battles. It will take place on Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Veterans Park, 4800 Valleydale Road. 

The Suicide Hotline is 988. Help is available 24 hours a day.