This past Monday Rabbi Shalom Hammer came in from Israel to lead a suicide prevention assembly. He shared his tragic story of his own daughter, Gila Hammer (oleh b’shalom), who took her own life at 18 years old. During his speech, he highlighted the way that mental health relates to the Torah: he spoke about our forefathers and mothers and the mental turmoil that they went through. He also mentioned the significance of being kind to others in accordance with the Torah.
He then transitioned to talking about his beloved daughter, Gila. She was known by her family and friends for her kind deeds, and always putting others over herself. A major takeaway from this speech was the importance of taking the time of our day to check up on our loved ones, even though it may seem as though they are doing fine on the outside.
The assembly we had this week was very eye-opening to me. We never know what goes on in someone's head and everything we do or say makes an impact on people,” said Ariela Sragowicz (11th). “In order to ensure our friends and families are okay, we have to be sensitive and caring towards them.”
Suicide is not a topic that is often openly discussed due to its severity and sensitivity. However, it is extremely important that both suicide and general mental health are consistently addressed in and out of school. This assembly taught students that something as small as asking how someone’s day is going can truly be a factor in changing someone’s life- perhaps even saving it.
“Mental health is very important for every individual and is greatly impacted by one’s usual environment,” said Tila Schwab (9th). For most kids that environment is school, so we have to provide as much as possible for the students' needs and continue to break the stigma around mental health.
By: Eliora Gdanski (9th)