SDYS Suicide Prevention Program Saves Lives
Suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death for children and youth ages 10 to 24. This is a staggering number, especially considering that suicide is preventable. About 90 percent of those who die by suicide show warning signs and 70 percent tell someone that they are thinking about suicide. If we know that children are showing signs when they need help, why does youth suicide continue to happen at such a rate? Amy Budd, HERE Now and Anti-Bias program manager at San Diego Youth Services has some insight.
“Suicide and mental health can be tough topics for many parents to talk about with their children,” said Budd. “Many parents are worried that talking about suicide or depression could increase the risk, but that’s simply not true. Talking about mental health and asking specific questions about suicide gives our youth permission to speak about how they feel and find the support that they need.”
SDYS’s school based suicide prevention and early intervention program, HERE Now, focuses on creating awareness, promoting conversations and inspiring connections to prevent suicide—one community, one school, one life at a time.
In collaboration with North County Lifeline and South Bay Community Services, HERE Now is now active in 116 schools across 22 school districts in San Diego County, creating a safer place to learn, with suicide and bullying prevention education for 7th to 12th graders.
"Now, during COVID-19, our services are needed more than ever, and we will continue our school programs virtually this fall,” said Budd. “In partnerships with schools, we are able to identify those at risk for suicide and connect them with the life-saving resources they need by connecting them to counseling, family support and other community resources.”
Many children display warning signs before contemplating or dying by suicide, including a change in behavior (eating, sleeping and lack of energy), a lack of interest in things that they once enjoyed, withdrawal from friends and family, verbal or written comments about suicide and engaging in self-harm behaviors.
If you notice warning signs in your child, speak to them about the concerns you have and know that you are not alone. Support is available 24/7 from the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at 1 (888) 724-7240 or by texting “ACT” to 741-741. To find more resources, you can also visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline web page.
“Providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others,” said Budd. “We can all help prevent suicide by talking openly about mental health in our families, schools, and communities.”
Learn more about National Suicide Prevention Month.