Loryn Studer, top left, pictured with Katie Larson, center, and
South Salem High School Students.

Loryn Studer, center, pictured with Katie Larson,
Miss Marion-Polk County’s Outstanding Teen 2016, left, and
Abigail Hoppe, Miss Oregon Outstanding Teen 2016, right.

Loryn’s Reflection — Four Years Later

I, like many teenagers and people of all ages, overcame adversity that was presented in the form of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. My life did not just get better all at once. My decision that my hands and words are not for hurting myself gave me the courage to talk to someone. I have seasons where I struggle but that’s when I reach out for help and use my words to productively advocate for myself. 

Everyone’s journey is different, but I do not regret making the choice to stay here and stop hurting myself physically. I hope the same can be said for whoever you are reading this. Take action with your words in this time of uncertainty and reach out to friends or peers who might be struggling. The Purple Hands Pledge® is so important! It must be taught and practiced school-wide throughout our developmental years preparing us for a healthy future.  

From a young age, we need to understand the strength of our words and hands and how we can use them productively not to tear others or ourselves down. From a young age, we need to know that no means no! Consent is important in every relationship. Hands and words are not for hurting ourselves or others.

Often, we steer clear of the conversation of mental health and suicide with children, but we must understand the signs from a young age. Poor mental health does not discriminate by age or any other factor. Self-harm is something we need to be educated on, so we know that it is not okay to belittle ourselves or hurt ourselves. I’m grateful to have grown up with the Purple Hands Pledge® and I want to continue to spread it because it belongs in every home, every school, and every heart!

–Loryn Studer

A message from Katie Larson and Loryn Studer— South Salem High School Student Activists 

“During the Suicide Prevention and Hands Week at South Salem High School, we had several opportunities at sports events and schoolwide to get our community to take the Hands and Words Are Not For Hurting Pledge. We had Saxon Strong t-shirts made and partnered with West Salem High School to raise awareness at the Friday Night Lights. During half-time, my partner Loryn, myself, and two representatives from West Salem High School led the crowd in repeating the Purple Hands Pledge®. We are so happy to have conducted such an event at South. We also had the amazing opportunities to speak on behalf of the Hands Project at our Salem-Keizer school district board meeting as well as at the Marion County Commissioners meeting where they declared the week of October 16th-22th, 2016 Hands Week in Marion County. That was pretty cool getting to present and be a part of something so important. I’m also very happy I was able to bring in my pageant program of Miss Marion Polk County and my platform to raise awareness for Mental Health, especially in the teen group. This is something that both Loryn and I are very passionate about and we hope it will continue to be a legacy at South High. We also hope that this will start a trend in our school district and spread outwards to the state and nationwide.”