By Jonathan Evans, Executive Director
Did you know that according to the CDC, in 2019 suicide was the second leading cause of death among children and adolescents ages 13 to 19 — and the leading cause of death among 13-year-olds? This is a statistic that Healthy Teens is committed to tackling. We spend a lot of time talking about this issue and related issues, such as stress, anxiety, depression and other disorders, which may contribute to the risk of suicide.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and on September 25th Healthy Teens was present at Centerstone’s 19th Annual Life;Story event at Nathan Benderson Park. It was fantastic to join with so many amazing organizations and stand together to say that we want to do something about this issue.
Many of us have experienced the impact of suicide in our lives. Personally, during the pandemic I lost a young family member to suicide. On the outside, they were absolutely fine – at a great college studying Economics, a loving family, friends and opportunities beckoning. We’ll never really know what happened, but I can imagine the pressure, anxiety and uncertainty created due to Covid-19 may have contributed significantly. In an instant, a part of our family is lost forever, and the isolating effects of Covid-19 legislation (in the UK) meant many of us weren’t able to go to the funeral. We’re still walking with our family and slowly, piece by piece, taking steps towards healing.
Mental health is one of the most powerful topics we are covering in our work currently. We are providing a space to say “it’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to talk about it”. Many young people in our community need explicit permission to talk about the things that are affecting their mental health. They may seem ok, they may say they’re ok, but sometimes, they are not ok.
Will you commit today to doing your part to create an environment where our young people know, without a doubt, that it’s ok to talk about how they’re feeling?