New student-created digital book offers advice, tips on importance of mental health


An excerpt from junior Jeffrey Saavedra Escamilla’s book shows one of the many reasons to keep pushing: your favorite music. (photo screenshot courtesy of Jeffrey Saavedra Escamilla)

Trigger Warning: article mentions suicide, suicide ideation, and mental health struggles

When junior Jeffrey Saavedra Escamilla reflected last year on his own mental health, he realized that he wasn’t in the best place.  During this time in his life, Saavedra Escamilla realized just how easy it is for students to mask their struggles and hide their internal pain without anyone really noticing–if they could fake the funk well enough.  That’s when he decided he wanted to do something about this.

“The idea came from a question I thought of randomly: ‘If someone was to commit suicide, what would you say to stop them from doing so?'” Saavedra Escamilla reflects. “And thus I took that idea further and developed its meaning.”

What came from this reflective question was a book that he began to create using the Book Creator app (available to all students through Clever.) Linked below, the book is set up intentionally to look like a children’s book to “rebirth [the] nostalgia [of better times in childhood] to bridge the reliability by use of memories,” according to Saavedra Escamilla.  It features 50 reasons–both small and big–to encourage people who may be struggling with suicidal ideation to take a look at all the things around them that are worth living for.  In writing this book to help others, Saavedra Escamilla found himself remembering some of his moments of struggle.

“It took me through a very bad trip down memory lane – and when I mean bad, I mean realizing the many bad habits I had before, and the many thoughts I was willing to hide from my family and friends, such as the thought of committing suicide,” Saavedra Escamilla explained. “It also took me through the many things I never noticed by simply paying attention to things I never noticed, such as music, love, family and friends, and the world around us.”

Through this short book, the Parkdale junior hopes that he can inspire a number of people, from those struggling with their mental health to those whose loved ones are.  He hopes that it can be a resource to drive conversations and change to decrease any thoughts and potentials of suicide.

“The path to growing out of your problems isn’t easy of course,” Saavedra Escamilla said. “However, it’s still possible, and it’s worth the shot rather than continuously dragging yourself, and even others, through a moment of silent chaos– a feeling I have felt before.  It’s a horrible feeling. It’s a wake-up call, especially for the students who continue to hide their darker emotions. A moment to realize change is possible – that they’re not alone in whatever they’re facing.”

Click the book below to read Saavedra Escamilla’s book in full: