I went to a conference the other day and spent time learning the latest statistics about Youth and Suicide. It was eye opening. While I knew it occurred and have worked numerous suicides during my law enforcement career, I was surprised to learn how frequent it occurs in youth. I knew it happened and have known a few teens who either committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide.The presentation was done by The Jason Foundation, which began after the suicide of Jason Flatt in 1997. A free lunch was not the only reason I chose to attend. I have worked with children for years and continue to do so.
A Letter from Carl Flatt
Jason was my youngest son. He was an average 16-year old. He got mostly B’s on his report card, and he loved sports. Especially football. He was active in his youth group and he had a lot of friends. Jason was the one who was always up for going places and trying new things. From all appearances…my son loved life.
But on July 16th, 1997, everything changed. My son, Jason became a statistic of the silent epidemic of youth suicide. In trying to come to terms with what happened, I began researching youth suicide. The statistics are alarming. Did you know on average, over 100 young people this week will become victims of youth suicide? But-youth suicide can be prevented.
In trying to come to terms with what happened, I began researching teen suicide. The statistics are alarming, but my research also gave me hope because it showed me that teen suicide can be prevented.
That’s what The Jason Foundation is all about. I urge you to get involved. Together we can help stop this epidemic. Ask for our material. Read it. Then share it with your friends and others. Please help us reach out to hurting teens with another choice – another way to handle life’s problems, pressures and disappointments.
I will never hug my son again. But I can and will work alongside you — perhaps to save your friend, your neighbor’s child, a relative or even your own son or daughter.
Thank you for your help.
President / CEO
The Jason Foundation, Inc
During the presentation I learned that the foundation has many different things available for anyone who is interested. Training is provided as is support. There is the Community Assistance Resource Line – 888-881-2323. This number is available 24 hours a day and is the place to call if you have questions about suicide.
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24. Approximately 100 young people a week are lost to suicide. It is the 2nd leading cause of death among college age youth. Many people are beginning to call it the “Silent Epidemic.” Being able to recognize some of the signs are important. FOUR out of FIVE young people who attempt suicide gave clear warnings before the attempt was made. We will lose approximately 5,000 young people a year.
SIGNS OF CONCERN
- Abrupt changes in behavior
- Mood swings
- Crying spells
- Recent grief or loss
- Changes in school performance
- Suicidal threats
- Previous suicide attempts
- Final arrangements
The Center for Disease Control has a lot of data that can be broken down into specific statistics for more information. The Jason Foundation has opportunities for those willing to volunteer their time to help. All of the information is on their website.
The cases I have handled with youth occurred over sexual orientation and boyfriend/girlfriend troubles. I have talked with a number of youth through the years. Some of the youth just need someone to talk to who is not there to judge. being available to that youth by phone at any time can be a life saver. Try to listen when they talk and don’t dismiss something that seems important to them. As adults we may no it’s not that big of a deal, but for a teen it can be life changing. I spent 15 years in law enforcement with one standing rule for dispatch – if a juvenile calls for me – no matter the time or day, find me and tell me so I can call the child back. I would give the child my card and promise that I would be available if they needed to talk. Most never called, but a few actually made the call and it made a difference in their life for the most. Many law enforcement officers, teachers and other professionals dealing with the public are quick to say, because I’ve heard it over and over, that it’s not their responsibility once they are off the clock.If anyone, you for instance, had the ability to help one child and make a difference – oh what satisfaction you will feel. Trust me, I have and it does.
Anything put in here from the Jason Foundation was done so for educational purposes only.
Tell someone now
if you are experiencing a crisis
Please call 911