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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Youth #Suicide, A Preventable Tragedy

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It is always a tragedy when a young person dies. When a person takes their own life, the natural feelings of grief and shock are made even worse by guilt, anger, and the isolation that too often results from the #stigma attached to #suicide.

On average, more than 100 people in Tennessee between the ages of 10 and 24 die by #suicide every year, according to the Tennessee Department of Health, reporting 142 people between the ages of 10-24 died by #suicide in 2017, the latest statistics available. These young men and women leave holes in the lives of their parents, their friends, their teachers, and their communities. We will never know what these people might accomplish with their lives and how much we have ultimately lost.

Within Tennessee, #suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth aged 15-24; in many counties, the rate for this age group exceeds the national #suicide rate. Therefore, youth #suicide is not merely a #mentalhealth concern, but a serious public health problem.

The greatest tragedy about youth #suicide – even worse than the pain and sorrow that follows – is the fact that it is preventable. In fact, youth #suicide is the most preventable cause of death.

What can we do to save the young people we love? First, we need to recognize that untreated #depression, a highly treatable #medicalillness, can lead to #suicide. Just as we have learned the warning signs of a heart attack, we can learn the warning signs of #suicide, educate ourselves about the #mentalhealth resources available in our communities, and most importantly, take time to ask questions when we notice a young person struggling with school, relationships, or other issues. Often people think that by asking a young person if they are thinking about #suicide it will give them the idea to commit #suicide. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, once a person is asked if they feel like they want to harm or kill themselves, the window of opportunity is opened to get them to help.

The Tennessee #SuicidePrevention Network, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of #MentalHealth and Substance Abuse Services and child-serving agencies across the state, works to reach youth at extreme risk for #suicide, such as those in state custody, juvenile justice facilities, alternative schools, and special education programs; gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth; #youth with disciplinary and/or truancy problems; and other high risk populations. It focuses both on awareness and intervention training for people who work with, supervise and/or are in a position to identify vulnerable youth.

TSPN has volunteers and staff across the state who work to raise awareness of the problem of #suicide and effective #suicideprevention techniques. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the councils may log on to the Network’s website at www.tspn.org for more information.

Warning signs of #suicide

The following behavioral patterns may indicate possible risk for #suicide and should be watched closely. If they appear numerous or severe, seek professional help at once. The #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

•        Talking about #suicide, death, and/or no reason to live

•        Preoccupation with death and dying

•        Withdrawal from friends and/or social activities

•        Experience of a recent severe loss (especially a relationship) or the threat of a significant loss

•        Experience or fear of a situation of humiliation of failure

•        Drastic changes in behavior

•        Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.

•        Preparation for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements

•        Giving away prized possessions

•        Previous history of #suicide attempts, as well as violence and/or hostility

•        Unnecessary risks; reckless and/or impulsive behavior

•        Loss of interest in personal appearance

•        Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs

•        General hopelessness

•        Be faced with a situation of humiliation or failure.

•        Unwillingness to connect with potential helpers.

Free information about #youth #suicide is available through the website of the Jason Foundation (www.jasonfoundation.com), a national #youth #suicideprevention agency headquartered in Tennessee.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

For non-emergency information on #suicideprevention, contact the Tennessee #SuicidePrevention Network at (615) 297-1077 or tspn@tspn.org.

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