I just got off the phone with a client. I’m speaking at their high school in February.
They just conducted a survey, and the numbers are staggering.
I’m not mentioning the school or the state, but this particular school has 1400 students - and 873 of them took the survey.
Out of the survey, 59 of the 873 kids from grades 9 to 12 not only thought about taking their own lives, but they had a plan to carry it out – and they actually attempted suicide in the last month.
When I recorded the above video, I didn’t yet crunch the numbers, but here they are: Nearly seven percent of the kids who took the survey attempted suicide in the past month – and just over 62 percent of the students took the survey. It stands to reason that if everybody participated, that already alarming number would be greater.
What does that mean?
It means we have a problem – and I’m going to tell you a couple of things:
Teenagers: It’s OK to ask for help. Not only is it OK, but if you are struggling emotionally – you’ve got stress and anxiety, you are confused about something or you are having trouble thinking – it’s absolutely paramount that you find a trusted adult to talk to. Sometimes a time-out is necessary.
Parents: It’s OK to get help for your child and to encourage them to have someone to talk to.
Teachers: Thank you so much for the work you do. Please continue to let our kids know that they are not alone, that they have to speak up – and that it’s important that they speak up.
And to all of our administrators at this particular school – my client: You guys are awesome and I wish we had more administrators like you.
We as education professionals have a responsibility to address mental health issues in our schools.
You do not want to deal with the loss of a student in your school. It’s devastating. It will rock the community and you will be forced to have to do something afterwards.
You don’t need to be a mental health professional to build relationships among our teachers and our staff and our kids. These numbers are alarming. I’m dealing with it every single day.
If seven-eight-nine percent of your kids are thinking about wanting to end their lives, you are not far from having to deal with a suicide in your community. You have the power to make a difference. You touch hearts. You change lives. Touch the heart and the mind will follow.
Let these kids know you care, and provide a place where they feel comfortable reaching out.
The teen suicide epidemic continues to grow, and I believe it ties into mental illness – what is quickly becoming the largest public health crisis of our time. My latest book, Teen Suicide: The "Why" Behind America's Suicide Epidemic, covers these topics in depth. I encourage you to order your copy HERE.