Kotzebue, Alaska is 33 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Alaska's western coast. With a population of just over 3000 people, the community has been rocked by 18 suicides in 18 months. Last month, mental health speaker and author Jeff Yalden was hired as a consultant and to shake things up. Here’s what happened…
I needed this day. I needed to laugh and take it all in. Love what I do, but this past few days were some of the hardest days of my life. After what happened with Bayport High School I really wanted to quit. Give up. I was beat.
Thankfully, Bayport High School is behind me, for the most part. Still receiving messages on the daily from teachers, staff, students, parents, other communities too. Other educators, teachers, and former students from the Green Bay area in support and embarrassed about how Bayport High School handled the whole day. I appreciate it, but the damage that was done is forever on the internet and it’s disgusting.
You know, I haven’t received any messages from the superintendent or any of the school administration. The things that bothers me the most is one word we preach to our students everyday . . . INTEGRITY.
Anyways, I wanted to cancel the past two days and take a break, but I couldn’t. Conneaut High School in Ohio brought me because on December 13, 2018, a former student took his life. The family wanted instead of donations, flowers, etc., they wanted to raise money to bring me into their school to spend the day with the students, staff, parents and community. How could I cancel when they wanted me and what they all had to go through for me to come to their school? No way was I cancelling and it was a great day.
After Conneaut, OH, I had a three hour drive to McGuffey, OH to speak at Upper Scioto Valley High School. I arrived on campus at 7:30am for the administration and counselors meet and greet. One of the first things I did hear is that they had 700 discipline referrals this year. What? I thought we were in for a long day.
Was I surprised! This day was one of the best days I’ve ever had. The students were outstanding. The staff was great. It was a day of mental health for the whole school. Talking. Relationships. Workshops. Classes. Games.
Then there was a SCHOOL IS PUT ON LOCKDOWN . . . For three hours and we improvised. Things changed but in education you are willing to change.
Thank you Upper Scioto Valley School Community. I can’t thank you enough for this amazing day. I appreciate being invited to come and work with you all on this Teen Mental Health Awareness Day at Upper Scioto Valley High School. Go Rams.
Teen Mental Health Speaker and Suicide Prevention Expert, Jeff Yalden works with school communities on teen mental health, suicide prevention, mental health awareness, and school culture all over North America. Please visit his website at www.TheJYF.org.
Top Teen Mental Health Speaker and High School Motivational Speaker spent the day with Glendale High School students and staff of Springfield, Missouri talking Teen Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, and It’s Okay to Ask for Help. Glendale High School did a survey recently in which they discovered 7% of their students were suicidal and had a plan. They quickly went proactive and wanted to reach out and let the students know they care about them and there is help. They put on an amazing event around teen mental health.
Teen Suicide: A Parent’s Responsibility
Could it have been that the parent’s were called and notified about the well-being of their daughter, but they weren’t receptive or present to receiving the phone call? Perhaps, sometimes we don’t hear what we need to hear because we don’t know what to do or aren’t capable of what to do. Maybe, we think our child is going through a phase and that shortly our child will snap out of the funk. Then, it happens and the finality of teen suicide hits, yet, we can’t go back.
Do you want to be a paid youth motivational speaker? Get paid to speak in schools all over the country. Online course teaches you everything you need to know. No college degree required. No experience necessary. Learn today from Jeff Yalden who has 26 years experience speaking in school assemblies all over the country.
Yalden was invited by the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office to speak to high school and middle school students about life choices, mental health, behavior, and attitude. He also presented to more than 100 parents and community members that night.
Investigator April Edwards from the Sheriff’s Office organized Yalden’s visit. It’s fitting that after some due diligence about Yalden himself, she knew that he would be the ideal candidate to instill a sense of purpose, hope and direction to kids who might otherwise be tempted to go down the rabbit hole of risky behaviors and compromise their self-respect.
“Jeff Yalden came and took our schools by storm,” said Edwards. “He captured the attention of our students as well as the attention of faculty, administration, law enforcement, parents and many other vested adults from our community.”
She added that the kids developed trust in Yalden within two hours and then poured their hearts out to him.
“Jeff has a gift, and he has helped many of our children through a very difficult time in their young lives,” she said. “Many of these kids will never forget the day that a motivational speaker captured their attention, their hearts and their minds.”
Yalden was grateful to Edwards for going to bat for him.
“Thank you for organizing and fighting to make it happen. We made a difference today,” he said.
In his more than 25 years working with young people and school communities, he said he has met many awesome teachers, administrators, coaches and counselors, but he cited then-interim and now permanent Mathews High School principal Alexis Foster as one of a kind.
“Today’s teens are growing up differently and need trusted adult who can find the perfect balance of understanding, discipline and encouragement, while providing inspiration and hope – an individual who shows beyond any doubt that they truly care about the students that walk through their doors,” Yalden said.
“Mr. Foster is the embodiment of empathy and compassion, yet he held the kids accountable in a way that they felt empowered and hopeful – that their needs were being met and that they had solid futures to look forward to.”
Foster himself was more than pleased with the result of Edwards’ work to bring Yalden in for the day.
“As a school administrator, it’s very difficult to always find the time to say the right things or to do things to motivate your kids – but if you have the time and really care about kids, you need to invite Jeff Yalden to your school,” he said. “Just spending the day with him today, I saw lives changed, kids’ attitudes changed – and parents are now thinking about things that maybe they never thought about before.”
What Yalden most wanted to instill in the young people in attendance was the fact that the world owes them nothing.
“You get out of it what you put into it,” he said.
For more information about Jeff Yalden, go HERE.
Learn all about The Jeff Yalden Foundation HERE.
To book Jeff now, call (800) 948-9289.