Suicide rates in nearly every state in the U.S. have spiked by 30 percent since 1999, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The one state that didn’t see a spike? Nevada, where according to the CDC, the rate actually decreased—if only by less than 1 percent.

The latest report, released Thursday, found that 45,000 people died by suicide in 2018. States like Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota have had the greatest increases: 38 to 58 percent.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, according to the report. The release of the CDC report comes after the two high-profile deaths: fashion designer Kate Spade and star chef Anthony Bourdain. Spade was found dead in her New York apartment of an apparent suicide on Tuesday. Bourdain’s death was also confirmed to be a suicide after his friend and fellow celebrity chef Eric Ripert found him unresponsive in his hotel room in France.

Misty Vaughan Allen, a suicide-prevention coordinator at the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), told Newsweek that the department’s work with the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention has helped lower the rate of suicide in the state.

117590063Haley Lillibridge, 25, answers the phone at CrisisLink, a suicide and crisis prevention hotline in Arlington, Virginia, on June 23, 2011. The suicide rate in Nevada has remained steady, according to a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.DAN ZAK/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

Allen, who has been at the department since 1998, said the state had the highest suicide rate in the nation when she started her work.

She told Newsweek that keeping the conversation going about suicide prevention in communities and having a close relationship with other suicide-prevention centers is helping further their work.

“We have always felt suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” Allen said.

According to the Nevada DHHS statistics, 57 percent of suicides are carried out with a firearm. Suicides by firearms have decreased in the state, from 54 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2016.

Despite the steadiness of the suicide rate in the state, Allen says there is a lot of work to do. The state’s senior rate of suicide is still nearly double that of the rest of the United States according to a 2018 report by the United Health Foundation.

“We are highly aware we still have high rates, but we will never give up. We have to change culture around mental health, giving help and support,” said Allen. “The more we can do that, the safer our families and communities will be.”

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours a day, every day.

CDC: U.S. Suicide Rates Have Climbed Dramatically


Suicide rates have increased in nearly every state over the past two decades, and half of the states have seen suicide rates go up more than 30 percent.

Suicide is a major public health issue, accounting for nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016 alone. That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta decided to take a comprehensive look at suicides from 1999 to 2016.

“Suicide in this country really is a problem that is impacted by so many factors. It’s not just a mental health concern,” says Deborah Stone, a behavioral scientist at the CDC and the lead author of the new study. “There are many different circumstances and factors that contribute to suicide. And so that’s one of the things that this study really shows us. It points to the need for a comprehensive approach to prevention.”

She and her colleagues collected data on suicides from every state. In addition, to better understand the circumstances surrounding suicide, they turned to more detailed information collected by 27 states on suicides that occurred in 2015.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

The rise in suicide rates was highest in the central, northern region of the U.S., with North Dakota, for example, seeing a 57.6 percent increase since 1999. Nevada was the only state that saw no increase, and Delaware saw the smallest increase which was 5.9 percent.

The findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Guns were the most common method used for suicide, accounting for almost half of the people who died.

Often, the suicide seemed to happen without warning: 54 percent of the people who killed themselves didn’t have a previously known mental health issue. “Instead, these folks were suffering from other issues, such as relationship problems, substance misuse, physical health problems, job or financial problems, and recent crises or things that were coming up in their lives that they were anticipating,” says Stone.

Researchers and advocacy groups who work to prevent suicide say the report shows that much more needs to be done to tackle this growing problem.

“None of this is surprising information, which is not to trivialize its importance. I think it captures a lot of trends that we’ve been becoming more and more aware of over recent years,” says psychologist Michael Anestis at the University of Southern Mississippi, who researches suicide and is the author of Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic.

He thinks the general public commonly pictures someone who had been getting treatment for a long period before killing themselves, like fashion designer Kate Spade, who died this week, but that’s often not the case.

That means any public health effort to reduce suicides can’t solely focus on those who have reached out for help. It has to be paired with measures that would make suicidal people less likely to die even if they never went to see a doctor.

The report also cites the need to reduce “access to lethal means” but without explicitly discussing firearms or controversial issues such as gun control legislation. Asked whether that was a deliberate omission, because of the political climate surrounding gun control, Stone said that suicide rates have been increasing across all methods.

“So it’s not just about firearms, it’s also about other methods of suicide such as hanging, suffocation, poisoning and the like,” she said. “We are concerned with all aspects of suicide prevention, including access to lethal means, and so we do include that in a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention.”

But Anestis believes that it’s important to not beat around the bush when it comes to guns and to talk about the importance of things like setting waiting periods for purchase, and storing guns locked and unloaded.

“American suicide is predominantly a firearm issue. Anytime we want to resolve something that involves firearms, we’ve need to talk about firearms explicitly,” he says. “The conversation about firearms and suicide doesn’t have to be a debate about the Second Amendment. It could be a debate about where can we find some common ground that doesn’t simply involve only talking about people with mental illnesses, because as this paper shows, that’s not going to get the job done.”

Research shows that the decision to attempt suicide is often made quickly, in an impulsive way, says Robert Gebbia, the head of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“You may be thinking about it over time, but that moment when you actually make an attempt is a very short window,” he explains. “If you could make it harder to make that attempt by not having access to the means, often what happens is the feelings will pass, it gives people time for someone to intervene and get them help, so that is a really important preventative step that can be done. And there’s good research to support that.”

Suicide researchers already know a lot of the information in this new report, says Gebbia, “but the public doesn’t. And so a report like this really draws attention to the fact that we need to do a whole lot more to prevent suicide, to save lives.”

He points out, for example, that the nation currently has no federally funded suicide prevention program for adults. “There are some for youth, but they’re very, very tiny,” says Gebbia. “We can’t expect a major public health problem like this to be addressed unless we see the investment.”

The CDC said that people can learn about warning signs of suicide to help people at risk. One resource is the website: www.BeThe1to.com. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Nevada’s suicide rate among seniors worst in nation, new study finds


*Please note: This is based on 2016 numbers and not all of the phrases in this article are in compliance with National Suicide Prevention guidelines.  For additional information, see the CDC WISQARS database

Sundays for Jerome Penaranda meant “mom time” with his 66-year-old mother, Vivian — an afternoon church service followed by traditional Filipino cuisine at Goldilocks bakery in Las Vegas.

So when she didn’t call as usual around 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, 2017 — right after her Zumba class — he wondered if something was wrong.

The horrifying answer arrived in the early hours of Monday, when Vivian Penaranda, 66, was found dead in her apartment. The window cracks were covered with pieces of cloth; prescription medications lined a table.

A brief note offered Jerome and his sister an apology and asked Jesus for forgiveness for taking her own life.

Vivian Penaranda was one of nearly 90 people 65 and older who committed suicide in Clark County last year, according to the coroner’s office. That played a big role in making Nevada the state with the highest suicide rate among seniors in the nation, according to a report published Thursday.

Lack of connectedness

About 32 of every 100,000 Nevadans over 65 die from suicide, according to a new report by the United Health Foundation. That’s nearly double the average U.S. suicide rate among seniors and up from the state’s rate of 29.6 per 100,000 in 2017.

Nevada’s last-in-the-nation ranking, a position it has held in four of the five years the foundation has studied suicide rate, is “very concerning,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, the foundation’s chief medical officer and executive vice president for UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions.

One reason for that, she said, is that the report raises more questions than it answers. While suicide is often correlated to frequent mental distress, multiple chronic health conditions and excessive drinking and substance use, Nevada ranks near the middle of the pack in many of those categories.

Richard Egan, suicide prevention training and outreach facilitator for the state’s Office of Suicide Prevention, attributes high rates of suicide to the lack of a feeling of connectedness.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for years,” Egan said. “We always talk about how we can address it, and the thing that we address it with, especially with out elderly, is connectedness: connectedness in family, in communities, in a neighborhood.”

Thursday’s report does contain clues that suggest a lack of community involvement might be an issue. The report measures involvement in volunteer work, for example, which Randall said can point to how actively a person participates in their community.

On that measure, Nevada came in last.

Warning signs

Apart from her weekly visits with her son, Vivian Penaranda largely kept to herself. She lived on her own and kept secrets from her family. Jerome Penaranda said he wasn’t aware of the severity of his mother’s medical conditions, including diabetes and heart problems, until he saw the prescription bottles piling up in her home.

Penaranda said he wishes he’d noticed the warning signs while there was time to intervene. Once in a while, his mom asked for information about life insurance, or said she was depressed. He thinks she worried about burdening him and his sister — a common concern among elderly people with suicidal tendencies, Egan said.

It’s also common for relatives to miss signals that a loved one might be considering ending his or her life, he said. Among the elderly, losing a sense of identity or involvement in family or community are common warning signs. Others include talk or writing indicating hopelessness, a fixation on death, threats to inflict self harm or raw emotions like rage and anxiety. Mood disorders, substance abuse, prior suicide attempts and access to lethal means also are major risk factors, he said.

“It all comes down to a person acting maladaptive or out of character for themselves,” Egan said.

Anyone concerned that a person might be considering ending their life should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to local police.

In her memory

For Penaranda, there will never be enough time to get over the loss of his mother. He reminds his friends now to spend more time with their older loved ones and show them they’re a priority, he said.

Before his mother’s death, Penaranda planned to take her on a vacation to the Philippines, her birth country, after she retired from her cashier job at Excalibur. It would’ve been a retirement gift.

Instead, he tattooed his arm in her memory.

“It says, ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,’” Penaranda said. “It’s just a reminder to stay strong, believe in God and just know that she’s up there in a better place.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

Save The Date – 2018 Walk in Memory Walk For Hope

The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention
invites you to join us on
September 15, 2018
12th Annual
Walk in Memory
Walk for Hope
Suicide Prevention Community Walks
Battle Mtn/ Caliente / Carson / Dayton / Elko / Ely / Fallon / Henderson-Las Vegas / Mesquite / Minden / Pahrump / Reno / Winnemucca / Yerington

The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to partnering and collaborating with local and state individuals and organizations for the development and implementation of evidence based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention strategies and programs in the State of Nevada.

All walkers are welcome. All donations gratefully accepted.
Contributions go to the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention to advance its mission.

For more information call the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention
(Las Vegas) 702-486-8225 ● (Reno) 775-684-2238
or visit the NCSP website at www.nvsuicideprevention.org

2018 Youth Poster Contest

Stigma makes me feel….. How do you think or know someone experiencing mental health stigma feels?


Who: Anyone 17 years old or younger that lives in Clark County, NV
How to submit: Visit the Youth Contest Page at www.cccmhc.org
M. Amaris Knight:  cccmhc.nv@gmail.com
DEADLINE: Friday, March 23, 2018
Mental health stigma is the negative attitudes and labels people may experience because they have a mental health issue. Stigma can make it difficult for people to feel accepted or to ask for help. This contest will help bring awareness to the problem of mental health stigma in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May.

A prize will be awarded to a winner and winning poster may be displayed in schools in Nevada.

All posters must meet the following standards:
 Final poster size will be 17 inches X 22 inches so resolution of final poster must be clear at this size.
 Posters must be original artwork, and may contain multi-media components, no copyrighted material
 Posters will be displayed publicly to all ages, and so should be respectful of others. Avoid bad language or other inappropriate language or images.
 All posters will be submitted digitally as a PDF, JPEG, or PNG file
 Must include text in a type and font that is easy to read
 Parents and teachers may submit an entry on a youth’s behalf
 CCCMHC will include the following information on each poster displayed: For more information about how to stop mental health stigma, visit www.cccmhc.org.

Walk in Memory Walk for Hope – Las Vegas -2017-Masluk Photos

View our 2017 Walk In Memory Walk For Hope Photo Gallery from Las Vegas.
Photo Credit: Hannah Masluk

KNPR’s State of Nevada – Suicide Prevention Efforts Face Unique Challenges In Nevada

https://knpr.org/knpr/2017-09/suicide-prevention-efforts-face-unique-challenges-nevada– KNPR’s State of Nevada

Suicide Prevention Efforts Face Unique Challenges In Nevada

RBJR Photography/www.rbjrphotography.com

Suicide prevention advocates send a message during the 2016 Walk in Memory — Walk for Hope at Miller Middle School in Henderson.

Nevada has one of the highest suicide rates in the country — and there are many reasons why.

A sprawling state full of newcomers from many different cultures and speaking many different languages presents challenges to those who work to prevent suicide. As a result, more Nevadans die at their own hands than are killed in homicides or car accidents.

Suicide Prevention Week is marked in September, and the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention have planned a series of events around the state, including two in Southern Nevada, to raise awareness of the issue.

Misty Allen is the head of the state’s suicide prevention office. She said there is a stigma around suicide so much so that in some languages there isn’t even a word for it.

But she believes the stigma around suicide is lifting and more people are talking about it.

“I think the dialogue is shifting,” she said, “We’re out there. We’re increasing our collaboration our training core so that stigma is reducing.”

She said for the first time Nevada is out of the top ten states for suicides, but she says there is more to do. Allen said there are more programs, improved protocols, and better education and screening.

“We’re seeing a continuum of care that is consistently improving,” she said, “We have a long way to go without a doubt but it is getting better.”

Assemblyman Chris Edwards is a former member of the military and has worked to pass laws to help service members who might be suicidal.

He said AB105, which was passed this past legislative session, is one of those laws.

Under AB105, anyone with a health care license must get training for suicide prevention. Edwards said most people who commit suicide see a health care provider in the weeks leading up to the suicide.

“If the doctors and the nurses and the psychiatrist are a little more in tune they might be the ones who catch the signal and save a life,” he said.

Besides helping doctors, nurses and other health care professionals look for people who might be suicidal. The state has also reached out to places where people in crisis could get their hands on a gun.

Richard Egan is the state’s suicide prevention training coordinator. For the past four years, he has gone to gun shops, shows and ranges to talk to employees, sellers and gun enthusiasts.

He said some people think it might be a difficult conversation to have but giving gun shop and gun range employees training on the signs of someone in a life crisis could save a life.

“Can you imagine somebody going to a gun shop or shooting range to find a way to end their life and instead of finding a way to end their life, they can get connected to community resources to help them save their life,” Egan said.

He said most people who are suicidal are looking for help and just want someone to offer it. He said it is a matter of someone asking the simple question, “Is everything okay? Are you thinking about ending your life?”

Nevada has unique challenges when it comes to suicide prevention, including the rural landscape, a transient population, a doctor shortage and a potentially problematic activity on every corner.

When the fun ends and gambling becomes a problem, it could be a factor in a person’s downward spiral.

Sydney Smith is a therapist who specializes in problem gambling. She said people get a sense of hopelessness especially when the financial wreckage from problem gambling takes years to unravel.

“Often times these situations can cause a lot of helplessness and hopelessness in a person and suicide can appear to the only way out, which it is not,” she said.

Smith said she always asks someone who has come to her for help if he or she has contemplated suicide. If he or she answers ‘yes,’ she then follows up with a question about whether he or she has a plan. She said just because someone has thought about it doesn’t mean they’ll act on it, but it is important to talk about it.

Talking about suicide is what helped Chantal Corcoran get help for her teenage son, who told her he was thinking about killing himself.

Corcoran talked to KNPR’s State of Nevada about what her family went through and she wrote an article about it for Desert Companion magazine, which is published by Nevada Public Radio.

After trying for weeks to find help for her son, she finally put him a facility where he received medication to help with his depression, but he didn’t receive the counseling he needed.

Eventually, Corcoran took her son to California to receive help. He is now doing much better and has become an advocate for suicide prevention.

Corcoran advises people in a situation similar to hers to never give up looking for help.

“I’m sorry you’re going through that because it is a very, very difficult thing,” she said, “But more than anything, you have to stay strong for your children, keep talking and find the help. Keep looking for the help.”

On Saturday morning the coalition will host the 11th Annual Walk in Memory — Walk for Hope at Bob Miller Middle School in Henderson. The coalition event offers support to those affected by suicide as well as raises funds for various suicide prevention programs in communities and resources throughout the state.

Similar walks are planned for Saturday in Reno, Carson City, Elko, Mesquite, and throughout rural Nevada.

On Sunday at 6:30 p.m., “Yoga for a Cause” on the Lawn at Downtown Summerlin will raise funds and awareness for the suicide prevention cause.

Coalition member, Strip performer and Yoga for a Cause creator Amelia Bruff, has selected teen suicide prevention as the cause for this year’s event.

“Yoga is the kind of upstream activity that shows people how to counter stress before it reaches a crisis,” said Bruff, who appears in “Le Rêve – The Dream” at Wynn Las Vegas. “Also, yoga is an effective way to reach teen girls, who make up one of the fastest-growing demographics of suicide victims.”

From Desert Companion: Relationship: It takes a village


If you or someone you know is in crisis call the national hotline:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention

Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention

Mobile Crisis Response Team – Hotline: South: 702-486-7865 or North: 775-688-1670

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

De Prevencion del Suicido – 1-888-628-9454

Crisis Call Center – Text Line – Text – “Listen” to 839863




Recently, Netflix released a fictional series meant to be a cautionary tale about suicide: 13 Reasons Why. The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention (NCSP) has compiled guidance for watching and discussing this series from various professional resources that explain the risks associated with unsupervised youth watching the show and talking points for how to discuss the topics presented in the show with you in a healthy and safe way. NCSP encourages conversations about suicide – as well as the risk and protective factors – in a way that provides clear, accurate information, offers help to those in crisis, and opens the door for effective prevention and awareness efforts. The following materials are meant to help people understand how to address suicide and how it is portrayed in 13 Reasons Why and links are provided to additional information and resources. For those in Nevada who would like to attend in-person trainings on how to have these discussions and/or learn to identify youth who may be in need of mental health services, or to view upcoming events to raise awareness for suicide prevention, please visit our website for upcoming opportunities to get involved: www.nvsuicideprevention.org.

Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention
Phone (Northern NV): 775-687-0848 Phone (Southern NV): 702-486-8225
Email: nevadascp@gmail.com Website: www.nvsuicideprevention.org
Facebook: @nvsuicdeprevention

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS IMMEDIATE HELP: Text “HOME” to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

JED Foundation

What to do?
In light of the feedback about this show, on the day of its release, JED partnered with Suicide Awareness Voices of America (SAVE) to develop Talking Points to help clinicians and mental health professionals discuss the show with parents, young people and the media. Netflix was supportive of the distribution of the Talking Points and posted them along with crisis services and a link to additional information about young adult mental health on the official 13RY resource website. Netflix also filmed Beyond The Reasons as a tool to help parents and teens frame the conversation and encourage them to speak up and seek help. The show is rated TV MA and there are trigger warning cards prior to three of the episodes.

Here’s what we suggest young viewers and parents consider:
• Make a considered and thoughtful decision about whether or not you choose to watch the show. If you have experienced significant depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts or behaviors in the past, this show may be risky for you to watch.
• If you choose to watch the show and are finding yourself distraught, depressed, or having thoughts of suicide or are having trouble sleeping, stop watching it and let a parent, trusted adult or counselor know. You can also text start to 741- 741 for confidential, professional help 24/7.
• For those who choose to watch the show, consider watching it with others and taking breaks between episodes instead of binge-watching. It would be especially good to watch with parents or other trusted adults. Discuss what you are seeing and experiencing along the way.
• This show does provide an opportunity to explore and discuss the meaning of friendship and how we make choices when we or friends are having troubles or are struggling. Viewers should consider how they might have made different choices from those made by characters in the story.
• Whether you choose to watch this show or not, we should all work to be caring of and vigilant about our family members, friends and ourselves. If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or showing signs indicating a possible suicidal crisis get them (or yourself) to help. Support from trusted friends and family, and professional mental health care when it is needed, save lives every day.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, text 741741 or call 800-273-TALK (8255)

Why does this matter?

It has become increasingly clear that the way suicide is described and depicted in the media can actually raise the risk of “copycat” behavior in a small portion of those seeing or hearing these depictions. Reports or shows that include or describe details of the death (such as how and where it happened) or details about the person who died (which of course would be included in a show or story) or that describe the suicide in a way that appears heroic, romantic or based on simple events or causes, can raise risk for some. Also, language that conveys that suicide is a common, typical or reasonable response to events is problematic. And finally, depictions that suggest that suicide is a way to get back at others or alternatively to get attention or be recalled lovingly are also potentially concerning. See: Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging

Given these concerns, we encourage young people to consider whether watching the series is the right choice for them, and we encourage parents and educators to familiarize themselves with our Talking Points and prepare to discuss the series with the young people in their lives who are watching.
We can all help to promote mental health and prevent suicide!

Learn more about emotional health and how to help a friend: jedfoundation.org/help
To view this entire post from Dr. Victor Schwartz, visit: 13 Reasons Why: What viewers should consider

National Association of School Psychologists

1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information.

1. Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem. There is help. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk to a trusted adult, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel and let them know you care about them.
3. Be an “upstander” and take actions to reduce bullying and increase positive connections among others. Report concerns.
4. Never promise to keep secret behaviors that represent a danger toward another person.
5. Suicide is preventable. People considering suicide typically say something or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously and know the warning signs.
• Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.”) and indirect (“I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”). Can be verbal, written, or posted online.
• Suicide notes and planning, including online postings.
• Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
• Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
• Emotional distress.
6. Separate myths and facts.
• MYTH: Talking about suicide will make someone want to commit suicide who has never thought about it before. FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that talking about suicide plants the idea. Talking with your friend about how they feel and letting them know that you care about them is important. This is the first step in getting your friend help.
• MYTH: People who struggle with depression or other mental illness are just weak. FACT: Depression and other mental illnesses are serious health conditions and are treatable.
• MYTH: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it. FACT: People, particularly young people who are thinking about suicide, typically demonstrate warning signs. Always take these warning signs seriously.
7. Never leave the person alone; seek out a trusted adult immediately. School-employed mental health professionals like your school psychologist are trusted sources of help.
8. Work with other students and the adults in the school if you want to develop a memorial for someone who has committed suicide. Although decorating a student’s locker, creating a memorial social media page, or other similar activities are quick ways to remember the student who has died, they may influence others to imitate or have thoughts of wanting to die as well. It is recommended that schools develop memorial activities that encourage hope and promote positive outcomes for others (e.g., suicide prevention programs).

To see the complete NASP publication, including guidelines for educators, visit:
“13 Reasons Why” Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEEDS IMMEDIATE HELP: Text “START” to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

US Sees Alarming Spike In Middle School Suicide Rate


USA TODAY NETWORK – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/07/14/america-sees-alarming-spike-middle-school-suicide-rate/479478001/ 

James M. O’Neill, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record Published 5:01 p.m. ET July 14, 2017 | Updated 5:08 p.m. ET July 14, 2017

America sees alarming spike in middle school suicide rate

“The rate of middle school suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014 in the United States for a variety of reasons, including the use of social media for bullying. James M. O’Neill/NorthJersey.com

 America is experiencing a striking rise in suicideamong middle school students.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.

“It’s alarming. We’re even getting cases involving 8- and 9-year olds,” said Clark Flatt, who started the Jason Foundation in Tennessee 20 years ago to help educate teachers about teen suicide after his 16-year-old son took his own life. “It’s scary. This isn’t an emerging problem – it’s here.”

Researchers, educators and psychologists say several factors — increased pressure on students to achieve academically, more economic uncertainty, increased fear of terrorism and social media — are behind the rise in suicides among the young.

The use of social media is a particular worry because it has amped up bullying among a vulnerable age group. Young students in prior generations left school each afternoon and avoided someone who bullied them until the next day or week. Now, social media allows for bullying 24/7 — and the bully doesn’t even have to be someone the child knows.

“With social media you can’t turn people off,” said Phyllis Alongi, clinical director at the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, a group founded by parents in Monmouth County whose children died by suicide.

 There is so much pressure on young people they can become overwhelmed because they haven’t yet developed the coping skills adults rely on. Something an adult easily dismisses because of a lifetime of experience can be hard for a middle schooler to shrug off.

“Middle school is a very difficult time,” said Maurice Elias, a psychologist at Rutgers University and director of its Social-Emotional Learning Lab. It’s a challenging age, as some start puberty before others, and some are discerning their sexual orientation.

“They are trying to figure out who they are,” Elias said. “They are very sensitive to criticism. So they are particularly prone to suicidal ideation and even action. A lot of times they exaggerate the situation. If it’s a little thing, they think it’s a huge thing. If someone doesn’t like them, they think that nobody will like them forever.”

The statistics are heartbreaking. Nationwide, the annual rate climbed from 0.9 to 2.1 suicides per 100,000 middle schoolers between 2007 and 2014, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The causes of suicide can be complicated, and each case is different. A suicide is never the result of a single factor, experts say.

“Increasing the risk of suicide can be a lot of interacting pieces, from family issues to other stressors,” said Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and former chair of the state’s Anti-Bullying Task Force.

Experts say that to reduce suicide among teens, parents and teachers need education about warning signs. These can include changes in feelings, displays of distress, a sense of hopelessness, a change in appetite, sleep loss, lost interest in hobbies or giving away favored possessions, Alongi said.

Parents need to speak to their child if they think something is wrong.

“Always err on the side of asking the question,” Flatt said. “And don’t accept their first answer that everything is fine, especially if they are acting differently.”

“I thought he had been through a tough spring practice and was tired,” Flatt recalled. “I said, ‘You certainly don’t have to play on my account, but why don’t you wait to decide until August.’ I lost him three weeks later. I hadn’t asked him why he didn’t want to play anymore.

“It’s tough to sit across from your son and ask if he’s thinking about hurting himself,” Flatt said. “If he says ‘yes,’ he’s put his life in your hands, and you need to know how to deal with it – don’t learn what you should do after the fact.”

In the years since, he said he has spoken with hundreds of kids who attempted suicide and they all said that no one ever asked them if they wanted to hurt themselves. “If you already think nobody loves you or cares, and then nobody asks if you’re okay, that just reinforces what they’re thinking,” Flatt said.

Research has shown that four of five teens who attempt suicide showed warning signs beforehand, Flatt said. “If we can train people to recognize those signs and respond, we can reduce the numbers,” he said.

Alongi agreed. “The top myth about suicide is that if I talk about suicide I am planting the idea in their heads,” she said.

Experts also say schools need to create a welcoming environment where all students feel accepted, and to teach students the social and emotional skills that will help them navigate conflict.

Training educators is essential, experts say. “Training teachers is the single most impactful thing a state can do,” said Flatt, whose foundation has helped 19 states pass the Jason Flatt Act, which requires suicide prevention as part of teacher training.

Concerns about suicide were also part of the reason the state passed an anti-bullying act in 2006. “Most bullying cases occur in a school setting,” said Stuart Green, director of the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention. “It’s the responsibility of the adults who staff these schools.”

Green and others say addressing bullying not only helps those targeted, but also helps the bullies.

“We’re not dealing with a bunch of little Hannibal Lecters,” he said. “That behavior can change. If not, they grow up with problems when dealing with the workplace where bullying isn’t tolerated.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.