Sep. 2—A fun assembly for hundreds of students this week served as a good reminder.
McAlester Public Schools middle school students and teachers competed in a dance-off and sang together during an assembly Wednesday focused on raising mental health awareness.
Generation Why founder Jordan Miller told attendees they can improve their lives and impact positive change on their community with three steps.
"Know your why, change your perspective, and change your community," Miller said.
Generation Why was established as a 501(c)(3) in 2017 after a rise in deaths by suicide across Oklahoma City. The group of creative artists combines talents in dance, rap, motivational speaking and more to in productions focused anti-bullying initiatives and growing mental health awareness.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Oklahoma is a top 10 state in highest suicide death rates at 21.9 per 100,000 total population.
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Oklahoma, nearly tripling the state's homicide death rate of nine per 100,000, per the CDC.
Wednesday's assembly focused on giving students hope for the future and inspiration to treat others with kindness to help everyone improve their own mental health
Miller encouraged students to find their purpose and change their perspective to help others.
That's a good reminder for middle school students — but it's also a good reminder for us all.
Mental health is something we can always work on to help ourselves, but we can also check in on others and treat them with kindness.
You never know someone else's struggle until you ask.
Miller told attendees he wanted to start the group after struggling with guilt and emotional trauma following a high school friend's death.
"I could've taken 30 seconds out of my day to actually acknowledge one of my friends was reaching out to me," he told the students.
"That's something that I wish I did," he added.
Miller said he felt the need to help raise mental health awareness and stifle bullying through a fun, engaging program.
While the assembly focused on anti-bullying and raising mental health awareness among middle school students, it serves as a reminder that we should all treat other with kindness.
No matter our differences, we're all neighbors and can work to resolve conflict without bashing or lying about each other.
—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board