Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – Bringing Attention to Suicide Prevention

Name: Jacklyn Insel
From: Wayne, New Jersey
Grade: 11
School: DePaul Catholic High School
Votes: 1

Jacki
Insel

9/13/18

Bringing Attention to Suicide Prevention

This story starts out with when I lost two friends to suicide. The word
hangs heavy in my thoughts, because that word holds so much pain and
sorrow. It means my friends took their own lives, due to so much
emotional turmoil. These people alive and deceased forever changed
who I am as a person, and why I decided to start my own volunteer
program to raise money, and awareness on suicide prevention.

I do not want to talk too much about the loss of my friends, because it
hurts like getting shot in the chest each time I think about it. Not
only I, but their families, the community, and the people around
them. Suicide is a period in a sentence. It is the end of a
beginning, especially when these individuals were so young and full
of prosperity. It is something that I want to stop, even if it is
just one person who decides to hang on for one more day. Music for
Hope is a suicide prevention concert, hosted twice a year in Butler,
New Jersey. All the proceeds go to the American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention, which provides counseling, education, and
assistance to schools or families nationally. It is a wonderful
organization, who I have corresponded closely with while running
these concerts. I may not be the person on stage, singing or
performing, but I am the person in the background pulling each string
immaculately together. I ensure everything runs smoothly from booking
bands, getting food donations, making flyers, etc. Of course I have
individuals who work with me, but I facilitate each task, as leader
of this group. Each concert has live music, food that local
restaurants donate, public speakers to talk about their lives, and
outreach programs to provide information, as well as support to those
in crisis. I always try to add a fun activity too, such as a selfie
booth, a raffle, or an art area. It is a team effort with the entire
community, not only mine. Through each day I work countless hours on
it, all the chaos and frantic work I do, and all the prep efforts
that are needed months in advance to the hour before, I am just
grateful to be a part of this. It is very complex when parts of my
puzzle do not fit. A band calls out sick, a food vendor does not
show, to people being too crazy at a show, to something does not
print. I do not let these little mishaps cause me to crash down, but
I focus on adapting to the new situation, and being as calm as I can
before a show. It is hard when I think of my friends, who would have
loved the music line up, or the pizza, or anything there. It hurts me
when I know that they will not be here. I stay positive, knowing that
this is for them, and that their memory will live on to help others.

Mental health is something I am extremely passionate about since I would
like to be a psychiatrist when I am older, and since I have seen the
devastation of individuals not seeking treatment. It is not only
fascinating to me, but necessary for so many individuals to seek
psychological assistance. I use these concerts to show the damage of
suicide, and to educate people on how to tell if a person may take
their life. The outreach programs are full of lovely people who are
there to help others into getting imperative help. Suicides are
completely preventable, and these concerts are an enjoyable way to
get people talking about this growing epidemic. This is my way of
trying to halt others from making such a gruesome mistake, and
destroying the people around them in the process. I want to live in a
world, where no one seeks out suicide as an option, so each concert
is a step in the right direction. This one night of love, sharing,
and education can greatly influence on person’s life into not
making a grave mistake, or stopping someone else from killing
themselves. Psychology and helping others is my life mission, and
Music for Hope is my way of getting a head start on what I shall do.
I want to spend the rest of my life assisting those who need it. My
concert is a tool to do so, while raising money to fund a well needed
foundation, and not having a degree.

During my time of doing Music for Hope since freshman year, I have learned a
lot. Not only about what it takes to run an event, organization, time
management, etc., but about myself. After my friends’ deaths I felt
depressed and powerless. I lied in agony for days, trying to
rationalize their actions. I felt like there was nothing I can do
until I realized I can help other people from making this terrible
choice. Music for Hope became an outlet for all my sadness and anger,
which taught me to be more than just me. It taught me to use my
talents and dedication to make a movement. I can influence so many
people through one evening of hope. It takes one person to walk
through that door and change their mind about ending it all, or using
what was talked about to help another person struggling. Music for
Hope is my everything because it holds the memories of my dear
friends, people I loved and cared for. It is my way of feeling close
to them again, even when I miss them the most. I want to use my
lifetime to make a difference, and this is my project that will
forever make an impact.


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