Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Family Service and Guidance Center are looking for ways to change that, starting with “Suicide: Talk about it. Save a Life.”
This new countywide initiative is centered around youth suicide prevention. Students from all over Shawnee County gathered for the roundtable discussion.
“We talked about how suicide has increased in teens…and we talked about ways to help socialize and stop social fears,” senior Rylie Oshel said.
Oshel was contacted by the counselors at Shawnee Heights and was asked to attend the meeting. Nineteen students from multiple districts participated in the discussion. Other students from the USD 450 community that attended include Olivia Talbert and Patricia Jones.
“I do [feel the meeting was productive] because we learned new things. They had a group called Link Form, and it’s about a class where seniors mentor freshman and help get them involved in school,” Oshel said.
There has even been talk of bringing a group similar to that to Shawnee Heights. While nothing is official yet, the students from the meeting have brought the idea up to the administrators at Heights.
“We talked about ways to make a social group here at school in the mornings or something so that kids can come together, and they can just talk about how they’re feeling or stressors in their lives,” Oshel said. “I’d like to be a mentor since I went to the program so I kind of know how to lead it.”
Aside from a support group, there are many things students can do to help others struggling. Warning signs of suicide include talking about feeling hopeless, behaving recklessly, withdrawing or isolating themselves, and extreme mood swings. If someone you know is displaying these signs, it could be time to take action.
Taking action can mean anything from offering counseling and local crisis resources to just being there for the person, and listening. Understanding the warning signs and issues concerning suicide is a very important way to help prevent it.
For additional information and help, you can go to the online site https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call the 24/7 hotline 1-800-273-8255