The Get Schooled Tour is a live interactive presentation for northeast Indiana middle and high schools focused on suicide and other mental health issues. It was created by RemedyLIVE, an organization which helps struggling teens have meaningful conversations via web chat or text messaging with trained individuals who can provide presence and encouragement, and is funded in part with an Impact Area Grant from The Lutheran Foundation as part of its LookUp initiative.
While the GetSchooled Tour is technically a school assembly, it doesn’t feel like one. A live band (with accompanying light show) plays music at 110 decibels in front of 34 feet of video screens featuring clips of people talking about issues like bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts. The students are asked poll questions about those topics, answering via their mobile phones, and the results appear on the screens in real time so they can see they’re not alone in their struggles.
The GetSchooled Tour has appeared at both public and private schools, including Concordia Lutheran High School. “It gave the kids a chance to be honest anonymously in an atmosphere that was pretty laid back,” said Phil Brackmann, Concordia’s dean for student success, who reported the most surprising poll result was that around 65% of their students knew someone in the building who had talked about suicide. That figure is in line with polls from students at other public and private high schools in the region.
After one recent assembly, a student came up to the organizers to share that she had a suicide plan, but seeing she wasn’t the only one in the room struggling with that led her to want to talk to them about it, the first step on a journey toward help.
Clinton Faupel, executive director of RemedyLIVE, says she’s not unique. “We’ve found that a great majority of the kids, after the event that chat in (via RemedyLIVE) are sharing things like a suicide plan or an abuse that they’re enduring or have endured and we believe we are the first step to getting them the care that they need.”