Teen Suicide


Early Morning at Yosemite
Photo of the Day: October 2, 2013.
Photo and caption by Mark Roberts (Redwood City, CA); Photographed July 2011, Yosemite National Park, CA

The following is an excerpt from the article


How common is teen suicide?

In her work with the Phoenix nonprofit Teen Lifeline, Nikki Kontz often asks groups of students if they know someone who has attempted or completed suicide.

“Ninety percent raise their hands,” says Kontz, clinical director for the organization, which runs a crisis hotline and youth suicide prevention programs.
Kontz learned about Teen Lifeline from a teacher at Xavier Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, where she was a sophomore at the time a friend took his own life.
After his death, Kontz felt anger, hurt and sadness.

“If I had just known, I could have helped him,” she recalls thinking at the time.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for youth ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that about 4,600 youth take their own lives each year.

In Arizona, 39 Arizona youth ages 17 or younger took their lives in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Arizona ranks high in several areas that put significant strains on youth, including teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates. Mental health services are lacking. And because Arizona is a transient state, with people constantly coming and going, it’s hard for families for form support networks, says Kontz.

The economic downturn also has likely had an effect, according to Markay Adams, injury prevention specialist with the Arizona Department of Health Services. When parents face unemployment or other stressors, it affects every member of the family.


Local suicide prevention resources

Empact-Suicide Prevention Center
480-784-1500 in Maricopa County
866-205-5229 in other Arizona counties
Located at La Frontera in Tempe. Suicide/crisis hotline, mobile crisis team, suicide awareness/prevention training, crisis debriefing, suicide survivor support groups, counseling, trauma healing services and more.

Teen Lifeline
602-248-TEEN (8336) in Maricopa County
800-248-TEEN (8336) in other Arizona counties
Located in Phoenix. Suicide/crisis hotline and prevention education for parents, schools, youth groups and professionals who work with youth. Suicide intervention training and training to help identify/support someone at risk. Education and debriefing support following suicides or other traumatic events (mostly at schools).


Local mental health resources

Family Involvement Center
Support groups (English- and Spanish-speaking) and suicide intervention training.

Mentally Ill Kids in Distress (MIKID) Arizona
Information, referrals and support groups.

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Arizona
Family support groups and education programs for parents/caregivers, teachers, faith communities and others.

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