be nice. You see the logo, you hear the phrase, but do you know what it means? Yes, the words be nice. are a call to kindness, but it’s more than that! be nice. is an action plan for suicide prevention. It’s a plan that gives you the tools to start one of the hardest conversations you may ever have to have, and guides you through making a change and saving a life. be nice. is an acronym for notice – invite – challenge – empower.
So let’s start with the n. Notice.
Be someone who notices — When we teach our program in schools the lesson varies according to age. When we’re talking to the elementary students we keep it basic, but the information remains true no matter how old you are.
“If you notice your friend is having a bad day, what can you do to make them feel better?”
Kids like to yell out solutions like, “Invite them to your birthday party!” or “Share your pizza with them at lunch!”
This is a great start, but as you grow older it needs to grow deeper than that. Once we’re dealing with middle and high school students these are more serious questions.
What can you notice about someone? Notice what is right and what is good about someone so you can notice when something is different about the way that person is thinking, acting or feeling. It’s very likely for one of your fellow classmates, friends, siblings, kids or parents to have a bad day or even a bad week, but when it lasts longer than two weeks is when you need to be concerned.
Look for a change in yourself or someone you know. notice:
Someone who once loved a sport/hobby has quite playing/doing that thing.
This person is isolating themselves from their normal friend group.
This person is avoiding social interactions with others.
This person keeps their head down in the halls when they used to smile and say hello to their peers.
This person is acting out or becoming aggressive when others confront them or ask them about their life.
This person is quick to anger over small details or happenings.
They feel hopeless, lonely and sad, but they’re not sure why.
They’ve started using drugs or alcohol as means to cope.
They cry frequently for no reason.
They can’t sleep or they sleep all the time.
If you notice you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, you/they could be depressed. If these signs or symptoms go unnoticed it could lead to suicidal thoughts or death by suicide.
So you’ve noticed these things in yourself or one of your peers. What’s next?