NASHVILLE, Tenn.--125 young people take their lives each week in America, making suicide one of the leading causes of preventable death.
The Jason Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth is among the organizations working to help those struggling with thoughts of suicide while also providing parents and teachers through education and awareness.
Brett Marciel, Deputy Executive Director/Chief Communications Officer with The Jason Foundation says in Tennessee, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for middle and high school students. "Forty-two percent of Tennessee high school students reported they felt sad or hopeless almost every day in a row for two weeks and that it affected their usual activities," Marciel says of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
"13% of all high school youth reported attempting suicide one or more times in the last year," Marciel says. "Here in Tennessee we average somewhere between 25 or 30 students in every classroom. That represents three or four students in every Tennessee classroom attempting suicide in the last 12 months."
Marciel says warning signs can include behavioral changes or verbal statements. Sometimes it can be explicit but other times it may be more veiled such as someone stating 'don't worry you won't have to worry about me for much longer.' Marciel says depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts across all ages so families and friends should look for changes in personality or out-of-character behaviors. These signs can be found in writings, art, and social media posts. "Really, what we are looking for is has this young person changed as you know them," Marciel says.
The Jason Foundation does not charge for services and while they do not deal with clinical services, they are able to provide the proper contacts based on the assistance needed. The suicide prevention and crisis lifeline is available 24/7 by calling 988 or texting "Jason" to 741741 to speak with a counselor. Statewide, there is also a crisis hotline available by calling 855-CRISIS-1. Find out more about The Jason Foundation on their website.