By Courtney Stump
CCHS Campus Officer Heather Olsen used social media to save a life 2,000 miles away. Photo by Courtney Stump.
On Monday night, May 6, Cathedral City High School’s on campus officer, Heather Olsen, was a key participant in helping to prevent a teen’s suicide over two thousand miles away.
Around 6 p.m. Olsen was contacted by a local officer who had received a report of a girl who had posted suicidal threats on Tumblr.
The reporting party had befriended the girl on Tumblr and encouraged her to ignore all of the bullying that she was receiving at school. The reporting party had seen pictures that the girl had posted of cuts up her arm and a post stating that she was going to kill herself that night.
“They thought she might be a student at CCHS,” said Olsen. Olsen found the girl’s Tumblr account and did not recognize her as a CCHS student. After that she forwarded all of the information to school administration to see if someone else might recognize her.
“Dr. Karen Dimick was able to find the girl’s Twitter account, which had her first and last names,” said Olsen. Officer Olsen did not stop there. After searching through months of Twitter posts she was able to identify the girl’s high school. “After some research online I was able to find the state she lived in, New Jersey, and city she lived in,” said Olsen.
Olsen then proceeded to contact local authorities in New Jersey and informed them of the suicide threat, the girl’s first name, and her last name. With the information that Officer Olsen provided, the local police were able to track the girl down. When they arrived at her home, the police had found the girl nearly unconscious. She had overdosed using over the counter medication. An ambulance was called and paramedics were able to save the girl’s life.
Officer Olsen, who is a mother of three, say that she kept searching for this teen in need because she hopes that someone would do the same for her own children. “Life is so precious,” said Olsen. “It is worth every effort to save.”
Without the hard work of officer Olsen, a teen girl could have died. “She is one of the best officers I’ve ever worked with,” said CCHS Principal Guillermo Chavez.
Often times social media is accused of causing more harm than good, but in this case it saved a life. Chavez says that the world is more complicated today than it was when he was growing up in the 1980’s, and social media is a big part of that added complication. “In this case I think social media was a good thing,” said Chavez.