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FINDING HOPE: Student campaign focuses on suicide awareness

Posted: 6:21 AM, Mar 19, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-19 08:21:33-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Stay Brave Suicide Awareness campaign is in its second year at Boise High. Student-athlete Philip Gisler is leading the charge now, focused on ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"Everyone who reaches out should be taken seriously," Gisler said. "Everyone has times when they don't feel good, and it's fine to share that."

The "Stay Brave" slogan is an ode to the Boise Brave mascot, while encouraging strength among students to stay brave through tough times, and brave enough to speak up when they need someone to talk to.

"Reaching out can't hurt," Gisler said. "So, finding a community where everyone supports you and really does care is important. Find the people who really do love you, and there are so many people who do."

A spokesman for the Boise School District says staff take suicide prevention among students very seriously. Gisler says the school's stepped up resources after a recent suicide death.

"The school has reached out to everyone actually, and they do provide times for students to come together," Gisler said.

And whatever the personal struggles may be, talking with a fellow classmate or school administrator is the first step.

"We're all caught up in grades and social activities but we just want everyone to be happy and safe," Gisler said.

Through T-shirt and sticker sales, the campaign is raising money that will go to the local Speedy Foundation, an organization aimed at preventing suicide and supporting mental health education.

And as always, remember the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24-7, and you don't need to be actively suicidal to call. You can reach them at 1-800-273-8255.