It’s the second leading cause of death for Minnesota teens and young adults. Experts say teen suicide is most often associated with diagnosable and treatable mental health or substance abuse problems. However, in order to reach out to young people who may be on the edge, parents, teens, and community members need to know what signs to look for in a troubled teen, need to know what to do to help, and where to turn.
Winona Senior High School will host a special community outreach event on Monday, to help students and community members have a greater understanding of youth suicide—what to look for, what to ask, and how to find resources and support for kids who might be struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.
According to a Minnesota student survey in 2007, one in four ninth graders in the state attending public schools reported having thoughts about suicide at some point in their lives; one in five reported having intentionally hurt themselves.
Statistics show that many teens struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts—a call to action for every community, every family, and every school. The first thing to do, experts say, is start the conversation about suicide prevention, and Monday’s event will do just that.
The “Community Outreach Health Fair and Presentation” will be held on Monday, October 8, at Winona Senior High School. During the Mental Health Fair, from 6:15 p.m. until 7 p.m., families looking for support for kids struggling with grief, loss, chemical issues, thoughts of suicide, or other mental health needs can connect with local resources.
“Anyone is welcome to attend,” said Winona Senior High School Assistant Principal David Anderson.
At 7 p.m., there will be a presentation called “Compassion and Care Following Youth Suicide,” by Bridgette Hensley and Ryan McKelley, licensed psychologists with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The presentation and following discussion will focus on understanding suicide statistics for youth, challenging myths and misconceptions about suicide, understanding warning signs, learning how to talk to children about suicide, and identifying sources of safety and support for those at risk of suicide.