"During National Suicide Prevention Week, September 9th - 15th, 2007, CDC encourages parents, educators, health-care providers, and health authorities to learn more about suicide, including the groups at greatest risk, warning signs for suicide, and potential prevention strategies."
According to the CDC, teen suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults and adolescents 15 to 24 years of age in the U.S., following unintentional injuries and homicide.
The Suicide Prevention section at the CDC website has a great deal of information and facts on the topic, including these frightening statistics:
On average, a young person (age 15-24) dies by suicide every 2 hours and 12 minutes.
More than 32,000 suicides occurred in the U.S. in 2004. This is the equivalent of 89 suicides per day; one suicide every 16 minutes.
Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings.
There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for each teen suicide death.
Sometimes - many times - it is easier to broach a heavy subject through stories rather than lectures, to consider it through the reading of books and watching of films or television episodes rather than having actual conversations about it.
I highly recommend the following three novels, which deal with compassionately and frankly with suicide. Use these books as a starting point, and then, please, talk about it with someone. You just might save a life - and the life you save may be your own.
Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel - This book can be found in the fiction/literature section of the bookstore. The narrator's inner monologue shows a completely different side to her than that which she shows to the outside world. You come away from this book with newly opened eyes, realizing that you may not know people as well as you think you do. You may or may not agree with the character's choices along the way, but either way, this book will challenge your beliefs and alter your perceptions of other people.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Due out in October, this is the most chilling story I've read all year. From the very start of the book, readers know that Hannah has taken her own life. The story follows her classmate, Clay, as he receives and listens to tapes she left behind explaining why she did what she did. This book is heartbreaking, and I don't use that term lightly.
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn - Coming out next March, this teen novel follows the rocky path of denial and acceptance as walked on by a girl whose cousin commits suicide and leaves an enormous hole in their already fragile and unique family structure.
For more books about suicide and other heavy matters, please consult my Tough Issues for Teens booklist.
And again, if you or anyone you know is battling suicidal thoughts, please, please, reach out to someone. There is always someone. Always.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifetine any time, day or night, at 1-800-273-TALK - 1-800-273-8255.