Youth suicide is a topic lacking in common conversation. Youth suicide is one of those topics that seems to only be discussed when an incident has occurred and makes national news or hits close to home. It may also be discussed when an organization for the cause campaigns for awareness, but then the chatter silences soon after the smoke clears. However, the statistics are alarming and would raise the eyebrows of any kind, warm-hearted human being.
According to The Parent Resource Program of The Jason Foundation, and data released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined. Each day in the nation there are an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by young peoples in grades 7-12.
Studies show that four out of five youth suicide attempts gave clear warning signs. It is important to understand and know the risk factors that can lead to suicidal thoughts and the warning signs that follow.
Some of the risk factors include but are not limited to; bullying and the rejection of peers, parents divorce, family history of violence and substance abuse, abused, molested, neglected youth and depressed youth.
Along with the risk factors, are warning signs that can help with early intervention and saving the life of a troubled and suicidal youth.
Warning signs include, but also are not limited to; talking about suicide, making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless, deepening depression, out of character behavior, and a loss of interest in the things one cares about.
With the stats mentioned, it’s safe to say this is happening in your community. This is affecting students that your child, grandchild or relative goes to school with, and unfortunately could be brewing right under your nose in your own home. Would you know it? Would you know how to intervene and get help?
An event geared toward the awareness of suicide prevention, anti-bullying, saying no to drugs, and other pressures of today’s youth will be taking place in Altus on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Altus Community Center.
Hosted by Southwestern Youth Services, Inc., the United Youth Jam is a free concert for teens, featuring music artists S.O. and Project Elevate. The event will also include free food, games, giveaways and a selfie booth.
This is an event that all parents and guardians, youth organizations, churches, etc. should be pushing for the teens in their lives to attend. There will also be resource tables set up to provide valuable information for the youth and parents.
Now that you know the stats, you can’t afford not to be proactive and do something. The United Youth Jam is a great starting point for planting the seeds of self-love, self-confidence, and awareness in the lives of the teens of Jackson County.
To learn more about the risks, warning signs and resources for youth suicide visit http://jasonfoundation.com/youth-suicide and/or http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/youth_suicide.html.
For more information on United Youth Jam 2015, contact Joanna Ramirez at 580-482-2809. If your interested in volunteering or having a booth, you’re encouraged to attend the The United Youth Jam Committee’s final meeting tomorrow, Aug. 9, at 12 p.m., at the Southwestern Youth Services offices. Lunch will be provided. Contact Joanna Ramirez for more information.