Help prevent teen suicide

Published 6:45 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

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Teen suicide is a sad and growing issue in the United States.

A recent press release from another Western Tidewater school system — Suffolk — states that since 2006, teen suicide rates in the United States have been steadily increasing. Nearly one in five teens has reported “seriously considering suicide” in the past year, and depression is reported as the “single greatest risk factor for suicide.”

Western Tidewater, unfortunately, has by no means been immune to suicide of teens and even pre-teens in recent years.

Suicide and the factors that lead up to it are complex and multi-faceted, and many young people who make the decision to end their lives had loving, caring adults who were doing their best to help. However, for many others, adults who are well-equipped to help struggling teens may just make the difference between one who decides to end their life and one who doesn’t.

Recognizing this and being proactive, Suffolk Public Schools will hold a series of community presentations for adults regarding student mental wellness, teen depression and suicide. This is not the first year the school division has done so, but we hope it sees a record level of participation this year.

Parents and any other concerned adults, especially those who work frequently with young people whether inside or outside of the school setting — such as coaches, youth pastors, Scout leaders and the like — are encouraged to attend.

The discussions will cover the same information that students are receiving in the classroom but with adult context. The discussions are not intended for young audiences.

The schedule of presentations is as follows. Each program is set for 6 p.m.

• Dec. 11 – Lakeland High School

• Jan. 8 – King’s Fork High School

• Jan. 15 – Forest Glen Middle School

• Jan. 29 – John F. Kennedy Middle School

• Feb. 5 – King’s Fork Middle School

• Feb. 12 – Col. Fred Cherry Middle School

• Feb. 19 – John Yeates Middle School

For more information, call Anne McCoy at 925-6750.