Increase Your Awareness
Published December 19, 2013. Last updated 02:37 p.m., December 17, 2013
Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau (TTYS) has partnered with The Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board in the 1 Word, 1 Voice, 1 Life initiative to raise community awareness of youth suicidal behavior and to equip community members with life-saving knowledge. Suicidal behavior is defined as a preoccupation or act focused on causing one's own death. It ranges from thoughts of suicide and wishes to die and includes unsuccessful attempts as well as completed suicides.
Suicide is the third most frequent cause of death among teenagers, surpassed only by accidents and homicide. In the past year, almost 15 percent of adolescents have considered suicide. When feelings and thoughts become more persistent and are accompanied by changes in behavior or specific plans, the risk of a suicide attempt increases. The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behavior. Firearms are used in more than half of youth suicides.
Adolescence can be a stressful period filled with many changes. For some teenagers, normal changes, when accompanied by other stressful events that are experienced as losses, can become overwhelming. At times of especially intense stress, suicide may seem like a solution. It falls to all of us-friends and peers as well as responsible adults-to familiarize ourselves with the warning signs of suicidal feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and to ensure that the appropriate lifesaving measures are taken. Most important, threats of suicide communicate desperation and a cry for help. Always take statements of suicidal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors very seriously and seek immediate evaluation.
I encourage your readers to increase their awareness of the risk for youth suicide and strategies for prevention by visiting The Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board website, preventsuicidect.org, and/or by attending one of the two trainings offered by TTYS in January.
David J. Fitzgibbons