A Walk to Show PR Cares


These bracelets were given out on March 18, 2015, when students and staff walked the track at Prairie Ridge to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

In the wake of recent tragedies within the district, on Wednesday, March 18, students, faculty, and friends gathered after school on the Prairie Ridge track for the first ever “PR Cares” walk.

Prairie Ridge came together to ensure that every individual finds the value in his or her life and realizes that the PR community is here for support every step of the way. Prairie Ridge is equipped to help the student body by providing counselors who are willing to talk every period of the day, and giving further outreach to those in need.

Although mental illnesses may seem rare and distant to members of this community, data and statistics tell a completely different story. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five teenagers lives with a mental illness. Of these students, fewer than half will receive treatment.

Because suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teenagers, and so many of our peers today are coping with some manifestation of mental illness, it is important to take action when one displays warning signs of suicidal tendencies.

Although no single person will act the same way, NAMI lists a few common warning signs for a person contemplating suicide:

  • Talking about hopelessness, worthlessness, or being a burden to others
  • Having no motivation for the activities one once enjoyed
  • Feelings of isolation; sudden personality changes
  • Giving away possessions
  • Reckless behavior
  • Talking about death or not being here tomorrow.

If you are feeling as though someone close to you may be struggling with an untreated mental illness or contemplating suicide, there are numerous resources geared specifically towards teenagers. First and foremost the Prairie Ridge faculty is always willing to help. Whether you are looking to speak about yourself or worries you have about a friend, the school social workers, Ms. Mattingly and Ms. Billie, and school psychologist, Mr. Wagner,  know how to help one overcome emotional struggles. To talk to one of these faculty members, a students simply needs to go to the Student Services department and request to talk.

While Prairie Ridge hosted a “PR Cares” walk, there are more opportunities to support suicide prevention within our community. Later this month, on April 25, 2015, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will be hosting a walk at the McHenry West High School Campus. Walk donations will directly benefit the AFSP. Visit Mchenrywalk.org for more information.

In times of struggle it may appear there is nowhere to turn, however, our community is filled with resources and individuals who want nothing more than to help those who feel lost.

We must not forget what Principal Koch told us on the morning of March 13: “We care about you. Come talk to us, any of us.” Prairie Ridge is here to help.

Besides the help here at PR, numerous other resources exist: