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Breathe Out Students Present: “How NOT to Keep a Secret”

Hingham, MA – April 4, 2024 – Hingham High’s Breathe Out Club has been working to raise awareness of mental health wellness with Hingham High School students since 2010. This week, current Breathe Out members, made up of recommended upperclassmen, presented “How NOT to Keep a Secret” to freshman Phys-Ed classes.

“How NOT to Keep a Secret” is an hour-long presentation where Breathe Out members discuss adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicide, along with stress management techniques. Students are encouraged to pick up on warning signs in their friends and the importance of speaking with a trusted adult in order to best help. They also challenge the negative stigma associated with asking for help, highlighting the courage and resilience required to live with and face mental health challenges on a daily basis.

While the subject matter is serious, this peer-to-peer model has proved to be powerful and highly effective. Studies indicate that talking about the subject of suicide does not increase the rate of attempts, but in fact, acts as a preventative measure. “How NOT to Keep a Secret” is an evidence-based program developed by South Shore Hospital’s Youth Health Connection that Breathe Out has been using for 15 years. 

Guided by Hingham High’s two adjustment counselors, Kevin Lalli and Jessica Hoguet, Breathe Out serves as a vital resource for mental health support. Lalli and Hoguet not only offer crucial one-on-one student support as part of their typical job duties but also instruct and empower Breathe Out members to serve as mental health wellness ambassadors, promoting well-being strategies for students and staff year-round.

Breathe Out’s activities culminate in a ‘Get Out with Breathe Out Day’ in May, which will promote the connection between exercise, the outdoors, and self-care.  Students will have the chance to participate in outdoor sports such as kickball and badminton, engage in activities like sidewalk chalk and flying kites, or simply relax with friends outdoors during their study periods.