Suicide Prevention Month Inspires Art, Poetry and Creative Writing

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


On Thursday, Sept. 12, the Governance Center lobby became a gallery of artful expressions with poetry, drawings, and essays produced by Gila River Youth from the Community.  The pieces had a suicide prevention theme and the  program motto: Yes2Life. Every entry emphasized how the youth use strength  to overcome hardships and continue on the right path for a brighter future. 


Gale Rawson, Case Management Coordinator at Tribal Education Department kicked off the program and provided the opening remarks. She thanked all the youth for participating and said, “The expressions of you tells you a story about who raised you, your community, and most of all, about the Gila River Indian Community.” 


Rawson went on to read an excerpt from one entry that served as a shared theme reading, “…like a lone wolf crying in the night, you will be heard. Don’t let this be the end of your story; say yes to life.” A seventh-grader submitted those words and was applauded by all in the Governance Center. 


The ceremony culminated with an awards distribution for all the entries awarded youth grades fourth to 12th. First, second, and third place winners received a certificate and gifts that complimented their entry. Essay and poetry writers received journals and pens while the artists received sketchbooks and drawing utensils. Honorable mentions for each category also received a certificate and a gift.


Sept. 8-14 is the nationwide Suicide Prevention week where activities like this take place all over the country. The goal of this time is to bring awareness about suicide prevention. This contest provides the youth an opportunity to use creativity to address a serious issue. For next year’s competition, there are plans to host readings of the submissions by the youth as part of the contest.