After the recent suicides of South and Rockhurst students, Junior Sarah Blumenthal decided it was time to raise awareness. She is bringing a new suicide prevention organization, Tell Me About Your Day, to the East community.
Blumenthal will introduce TMAYD to students, staff and parents at the Diversity and Kindness meeting held by the PTSA on Nov. 18. by distributing bracelets and talking about the organization. Speakers from different groups at East like Coalition and We Too Are East will also be there to speak out about the effect of improving kindness within the community, according to Blumenthal.
TMAYD was created in March by MIT student Izzy Lloyd. Blumenthal has known Lloyd, a Barstow graduate, since she was 8. After two of Lloyd’s close friends committed suicide, she created the idea of wearing a white wristband engraved with bold, black letters spelling “TMAYD.” Those who wear the bracelet are willing to listen to others talk about how their day’s going: friend or stranger. By wearing them, friends can take a moment to pause their busy lives to talk, or strangers can bond over having small conversation without it “being weird,” Lloyd said.
“I’ve noticed that it makes people feel more connected,” Lloyd said. “When you slap a wristband on two strangers, they instantly have something tangible that’s in common. Before, they wouldn’t notice that. Society has put us in this place where they don’t see being human as being a similarity.”
Lloyd encouraged Blumenthal to bring TMAYD to the high school level, because high school can be such a lonely, confusing four years, she said.
“As high schoolers, we sometimes think we are the only ones in the world with stress, or the only ones going through something hard,” Blumenthal said. “By talking about their day, students can relate to each other, and I think this will spread positivity through East.”
Principal John McKinney is expecting TMAYD to make a positive impact on the students and community at East because it creates an opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation. In today’s high-paced society, we sometimes need to stop and check in on one another, according to McKinney.
“I think this organization will let us stop our busy lives for a second and look at each other, which we know is a good thing to do, but we don’t do it very often. Rather than text me, talk to me,” McKinney said. “I think that’s the idea behind it. It’s just a nice, positive thing.”
Blumenthal and the PTSA decided to make TMAYD an organization instead of a club, so anyone that wants to can be involved, including students from other schools.
“With clubs, sometimes you start going, then slowly drop,” Blumenthal said. “Asking people how they are doing should be a part of everyone’s routine, and the bracelets are just a reminder of that.”
According to PTSA President Kellie Cannova, the upcoming meeting was planned last year, and will be the first ever directed by students, instead of parents, to get students more involved. The focus will be on inclusion and celebrating our differences, according to Cannova.
“The meeting is centered around diversity and all of the different groups at East,” Cannova said. “We thought that TMAYD would link together well with these other groups. Kindness is at the center of all of them.”
The meeting will have featured speakers,, raffles and possibly Chick-fil-a according to senior and PTSA member Emily Loveland.
“Everyone seems to be really on-board and excited to start the movement and share it with the rest of the East student body,” Loveland said. “It [suicide prevention] impacts students more when speakers are brought in because their stories stick with you.”
Blumenthal received $250 from the PTSA to buy bracelets and recently applied for an additional grant. If approved, she will be able to order more bracelets on top of the 500 she already has.
TMAYD continues to grow nationwide, with 10,000 bracelets given out and nearly 1,000 Facebook likes on the official page since the start in March, according to Lloyd. More than 20 groups and schools are a part of the movement, with an additional 100 groups in the process of joining.
“TMAYD is a way to create a good community where people are reminded to check in on one another,” Blumenthal said. “You never know when greeting someone will turn their day, or even their life, around.”
In addition to bracelets and stickers, Blumenthal has created an Instagram and is working on a Twitter and Facebook page to publicize the organization.
“What I would like to do with the Instagram is to have profiles on students’ days, just going up to them, asking them about their day, and taking a picture of them with their bracelet,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal and Cannova are hoping the meeting will give the organization a good start at East.
After TMAYD becomes part of East, Blumenthal’s next goal is for TMAYD to spread to other schools. She is planning to present TMAYD to other administrators in the district.
“We had the South vs. East game a day after one of their students committed suicide,” Blumenthal said. “It would have been nice to have everyone wearing a TMAYD bracelet from their own school in the stands. In the future, I really think it will tie in and bring everyone together, all rivalries aside.”