High school students learn ‘positive self-programming’

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“Suicide is like a bomb. Once it goes off, nothing is left.” Those are the words that stuck with Harborfields High School students after a suicide prevention assembly on Dec. 11.

Roger Von Braun, a suicide prevention advocate, not only shared the tragic loss of his brother and the devastating effects it had on him and his family, but also delivered a message of hope. 

Dressed in the suit that he wore to his brother’s funeral, he explained that every person has the ability to choose their own future, referring to it as positive self-programming. 

“My brother believed he was playing the role of the victim – that he had been dealt a bad hand,” he said. “You are the dealer. You are the programmer. Program yourself to believe that you are worth it.”

Stressing the importance of healthy coping skills, he offered several tips and tricks to help prevent depression and negative thoughts. The first: be more self-aware. “Start to realize when you’re thinking negatively,” he said. “Stop and think, ‘is this helpful?’ Now, you’re in control of the situation.”

Mr. Von Braun also led the students through several breathing patterns, which he said are helpful in regulating emotions.

He left the students with a chant to repeat on a daily basis. “I am the one. I have a purpose. I have a dream. I am strong and powerful. I control my life. It’s not over until I win. I am the one.”