- By TAEYOUNG MUN
March is National Social Worker Month, and #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth closely follows it in May. As a prospective social worker, I want to draw attention to #suicideprevention in the #school setting. #Suicide can be a risk for all people regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. #Suicidalideation comes when a person contemplates, wishes for, or is preoccupied with death and dying. Efforts to reduce the #suicide rates among #children and young #adults are cost-effective and necessary to limit the tragic toll that #suicide can have on individuals, families and society as a whole.
To avoid this tragedy, #mentalhealthprofessionals are becoming more available to #schools. Gladly, our community is paying more cautious attention to those issues. However, the necessity for #mentalhealthservices is still in higher demand than the service providers are able to fill. The services are not available for every individual in #schools unless they report their #suicidalattempts or have a referral to them.
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
During the #pandemic of #COVID-19, #anxiety issues and grief were most remarkable. #Depression is associated with #suicide, according to some research. During my #school internship, I met some #students who tried to kill themselves with risky #behaviors such as cutting and choking themselves. Instead of dealing with the aftermath of #suicidalattempts and #suicide crises, it is essential and beneficial to create preventative interventions like online #suicide resources for every #school from elementary to college.
The highest #suicide rate of demographics in the age range occurs within younger populations. It is the second cause of death among individuals aged 10 to 34 years old. Majorities of #schools do not have #suicideprevention programs. Ideally, hands-on interventions might be better for #students by implementing them in the curriculum with different approaches based on their developmental stages. Thus, considering the teaching professionals’ workload and limited timeline, online #suicideprevention can provide easy access for every #student with a preventative way of #suicide with time flexibility and broad accessibility.
An excellent example of a school-embedded program can be found in the CSU University system, which has a Title IX program that requires every student to take an annual informational course on preventing sexual misconduct and discrimination based on gender. The course provides scenarios, testimonies, resources and actions to avoid sexual misconduct, help others, etc. It is a very effective way of educating #students in a short amount of time while still providing a sufficient amount of information.
An online #suicideprevention program is another helpful resource for individuals to reach out for help with confidentiality, being encouraged to learn that they are not alone through hearing the recovery testimonies of others. According to a study in 2020, the #suicide rate in #America gradually increased 33 percent in 2017 compared to 1999. The target population of the #suicideprevention program will be public school #students with age groups from 10 to 24.
To make things happen, we need a budget. California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed total education funding of $119 billion for K-12 programs, contributing nearly $21,000 per #student. It is a tremendous amount of money, and it is necessary to increase schools’ budgets to improve their learning environment, However, securing the #students’ safety has to be another primary goal. I hope the budgets will be well spent balancing #students’ well-being holistically.
We need state and national programs working in tandem to create #suicideprevention programs based on evidence-based best practices. Implementing a #suicideprevention program at #schools might be cost-effective to achieve that goal. In addition, #schools and #mentalhealthprofessions need to advocate for #suicideprevention by using #socialmedia, meeting with politicians to change systems and laws, and making public announcements to prevent #suicide.
Taeyoung Mun is a graduate student at Cal State Bakersfield studying social work.