The Brighton Youth Commission (BYC) will be hosting its 11th annual SPEAK (Suicide Prevention, Education, Awareness and Knowledge) Week May 2 - 7. SPEAK Week consists of a series of events designed to promote awareness in the community and among peers about the warning signs of suicide and awareness of local resources for those who are struggling. The youth-led, youth-driven initiative started in response to the 2011 death of a dear friend and classmate of the BYC, Joshua Dillon, then a Brighton High School Senior. SPEAK Week has grown each subsequent year, both in the activities offered and the number of schools involved.
“Mental health and self-care are so important, especially with the lingering challenges of the pandemic that still persist today,” said Giana Rocha, Chair of the BYC.
The public is encouraged to join this year’s SPEAK Week activities - See below for the schedule of events. The week will conclude with a 5K walk/run at Carmichael Park (650 Southern Street) on Saturday, May 7. The cost to participate in the 5K is $20 for adults and $15 for students (fee includes a lantern, a T-shirt and a swag bag). All proceeds will go towards future SPEAK projects. To register, go to www.speak5k.org.
- Plant Hope Poster Competition: During SPEAK Week, the BYC will be hosting a poster competition. Because the past two years have been challenging with the pandemic, posters are encouraged to be colorful and focus on the next chapter - new beginnings and planting hope.
- SPEAK Don’t Scroll Social Media Challenge: The BYC will be hosting a daily social media challenge encouraging different activities. Winners of each challenge will be rewarded with age-appropriate self-care basket prizes. Here are the daily challenges:
- May 2: Moderation Monday - Use your phone and social media platforms in a non-extreme way or try to reduce usage.
- May 3: Two-Hour Tuesday - Only use your social media for two hours. Post your app usage times on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #SPEAKdontscrollday2.
- May 4: Workout Wednesday - Do a workout instead of scrolling on social media. Post a selfie doing a workout activity to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #SPEAKdontscrollday3.
- May 5: Thankful Thursday - Post what you are thankful for using the hashtag #SPEAKdontscrollday4.
- May 6: Self-Care Friday - Show yourself some self-love! Post a picture of your self-care activity using the hashtag #SPEAKdontscrollday5.
- May 7: Spread Your Light Saturday - Join the SPEAK Walk/Run at Carmichael Park. Post a selfie of you getting your steps in at the event using the hashtag #SPEAKdontscroll.
- QPR Training: In partnership with the Pennock Center for Counseling, the BYC will offer free QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) training to teach techniques and tools on how to manage a crisis situation - see dates below. Click here to sign up. *New this year - QPR training is also available in school classes. If this is of interest to your school, please indicate that in the online form when you sign up.
- May 2 QPR Training: 9 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. at City Hall (500 S. 4th Avenue)
- May 4 QPR Training: 9 a.m. at City Hall or 5:30 p.m. virtually
- May 3 - BYC SPEAK Video: This year's SPEAK video will be promoting the “I Matter” movement, which is a statewide program that provides six free counseling sessions for young people. The video will be viewable during SPEAK Week on www.speak5k.org.
- May 4 - SPEAK Booklet: This booklet includes the SPEAK schedule, warning signs of suicide, mental health resources and inspirational messages. It also contains attractive deals for local businesses. The booklet will be available during SPEAK Week at www.speak5k.org.
- May 5 - Gratitude Growth Tree: Create and decorate a tree trunk from construction paper or another creative way. Then, fill out the SPEAK Gratitude Growth Leaf and use the template to write what you are grateful for, decorate your leaf, and then cut them out into a group gratitude tree.
- May 6 - Wear Yellow: Wear yellow in support of the color that raises awareness for suicide prevention.
- May 7 - SPEAK Walk/Run: The week will conclude with the SPEAK Walk/Run at Carmichael Park, event activities starting at 5 p.m. Walk at 7 p.m. Details of the SPEAK Walk/Run schedule will be available on www.speak5k.org.
For more information about SPEAK Week or how you can get involved, visit www.speak5k.org or contact Youth Services Manager Tawnya Russell at email@example.com.