By: Madison Welsted/Content Editor
“Suicide Awareness.” Here at Blue Ridge, every student has likely been introduced to this concept. But what does it really mean? Although it may be disregarded by many, it is a serious topic. Thankfully, the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) group has been providing information to the school through the morning announcements because it is Suicide Prevention week. Here are the statistics that were shared:
- Clinical depression is a serious illness that affects men and women of all ages. It can affect your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and general health. Studies show that high school aged students with mental illness are more likely to drink, use drugs, and die from suicide (the third leading cause of death in youth).
- Deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem. More young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9 – 12 in public and private schools in the US found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the US.
- Suicide affects all youth, but some groups are at higher risk than others. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however, are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys. Cultural variations in suicide rates also exist, with Native Americans/Alaskan Native youth having the highest rates of suicide-related fatalities. A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 in public and private schools in the US found Hispanic youth were more likely to report attempting suicide than their black and white, non-Hispanic peers.
- Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur.
- History of previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- History of depression or other mental illness
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Stressful life event or loss
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
- Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Too often, victims are blamed, and their families and friends are left stigmatized. As a result, people do not communicate openly about suicide. Thus an important public health problem is left shrouded in secrecy, which limits the amount of information available to those working to prevent suicide.
SADD members have additional input about the importance of spreading these messages during suicide prevention week. Of course, the facts can be devastating. But that’s why this awareness week exists, so that people can understand the consequences and severity of suicide. SADD member Anthony Dissinger explains that the goal of addressing Suicide Prevention week is to point out a major problem in society and make sure people are aware of it, in the hopes that we can work together to prevent it. SADD President, Connor Mills, wants everyone to remember that there is always help. There are resources available to begin solving the issue if suicide ever feels like a prevalent option, and those resources are not overrated. Guidance counselors, teachers, and trustworthy adults are here at Blue Ridge for students in need. Reaching out for help is always the best decision to make when it comes to such a life impacting decision.
SADD member Madison Swisher wants people to know the overarching goal of SADD and how it pertains to Suicide Prevention week. She says, “SADD is all about preventing people from making decisions that could have a negative influence on their life or someone else’s. Suicide Prevention is an important topic for us. We work as hard as possible to warn people of potential outcomes, as well as to spread more positive alternatives to destructive decisions. Our goal is to spread positivity, one step at a time.”
Remember that awareness of suicide is important in preventing it from happening, so spread as much information as you can and think positively! Also, never forget that here at Blue Ridge, and in other places in your life, you are not alone.
Madison will be a young graduate at 17, but she is looking forward to finishing her senior year of high school. In the future, she plans to earn her master’s degree in a major related to psychology, as she aspires to become a one-on-one counselor. She works at Subway and babysits to help save money. In her free time, she likes to read, write, and talk to people, so journalism is a topic of interest to her for sure.