Yellow Ribbon Week at BHS

Yellow Ribbon Week brought mental health awareness to the student body


Alex McRill

Ally Harris (12), supported by Ty Catner (12) and Alex Crouse (11), addresses freshmen at the Yellow Ribbon assembly on October 22. Speakers shared resources and stories in the spirit of suicide and mental illness awareness.

Katie Tarnacki, Staff Writer

Yellow Ribbon Week at Brighton High School means the whole student body recognizes that people struggle with mental health and suicidal thoughts. There were activities throughout the week that took place and reminded students that there is always something that can be done; there is always help.

One of the most known activities at the school this week was the freshman assembly that B-KOM mentors and Peer Mediators put together. Freshman Parker Alexander explained how she hadn’t ever seen anything like it. “No one really wants to talk about that kind of stuff because it’s such a touchy subject.”

Alexander also said that the upperclassmen who ran the assembly had interesting points of view that really opened her eyes about Yellow Ribbon Week. She said she had heard about Yellow Ribbon Week from her teachers and upperclassmen before but never really understood what it meant. 

Senior Henry Clise said that his freshman year Yellow Ribbon Week assembly was something he’d never forget. Clise acknowledged, “People that I thought had it all figured out and put together only to realize that no matter how a person may hold themselves, we all are going through something.”

During this week, even though small gestures really brought awareness to the subject. Clise said, “having it be a whole week with signs and peer representation made it all the more tangible and real.” 

Schools from other districts around Brighton are just starting to do more programs like Brighton High School’s Yellow Ribbon Week. Brighton started the week about 20 years ago when a student at the High School had taken his own life and friends of his came to the social worker at the school at the time and offered up the idea. During this week, students really start to think about either their own struggles or a friend of theirs whom they know is dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Sophomore Principal, Jennifer Sprys-Tellner, explained, “the numbers definitely increase a little bit, I think it’s more of friends coming to us expressing their worries in a friend of theirs.” At the school, ribbons and wristbands were passed out and there were banners to sign at every lunch, which again made the students stop and think about either their own life or a friend of theirs.  

Freshman SommerAnn Kendrick found the assembly to be very touching. She said she knew what pain felt like as well as the pain of losing a loved one and how much it hurts. Kendrick was amazed at the upperclassmen and their openness on their situations. “I was amazed at how they were able to share their stories because I know what that is like and how difficult it is to talk about it,” she said. 

Yellow Ribbon Week at Brighton High School has made a huge impact on the student body and has been able to reach out to each individual student in their own way. Mental health has become some sort of an epidemic which people need to be educated on and to understand that it is a normal thing. People mistake depression and/or anxiety as a disability or illness, when in fact they are neither. Even though Brighton has had this program for so long, it is starting to spread. Nearby districts are creating their own form of Yellow Ribbon Week in order to spread recognition for this epidemic. This awareness increases the ability to talk about mental health within the school and beyond.