"On August 26, we heard the news that a sophomore student had committed suicide," Juliana Discher, a student journalist at William Mason High School, told ABC in an email. "A lot of people were greatly upset by the news and feeling down."
It was then that a group of students decided to do what they could to lift the spirits of everyone at the school. The next week, they put notes with positive, encouraging messages on every locker and teacher's door throughout the building.
The notes had an immediate impact on Discher and others, she said.
"When I saw the post-it notes, a smile instantly came across my face. The atmosphere of the day was changed. It was a great reminder that we need to look out for each other," she said.
All in all, the students put up 3,600 notes. It took eight hours.
"We wanted every student to feel important, but we also wanted to show our appreciation to teachers too," one of the students, Erica English, said in a statement. "Every second was worth it."
It may have taken until 10pm.. But seeing everyone's face was worth it! I'm glad we got to put these up ily all :)) pic.twitter.com/Tp0eu1R1u9— Anna Aronson (@anna_aronson233) August 31, 2016
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, which culminates in World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday. More than 800,000 people die by suicide every year, according to the World Health Organization.
If a friend or loved one expresses thoughts of suicide, seek help. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention help line at 800-273-TALK (8255).