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What I Want My Son to Know About My Suicide Attempt

posted Jun 5, 2015, 6:35 AM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Jun 5, 2015, 6:36 AM ]

As teenagers, my brother and I both attempted suicide. We both survived. A few years later, when we were in our early 20s, my brother attempted again. This time, he succeeded.

Ten years have passed since my brother's death, and I am now the mother of a son. As a survivor of suicide, here are 10 things I want him to know:

1. Feel Your Feelings: There will always be people who are uncomfortable with difficult feelings. "Don't be scared," they'll say. "Don't be sad." Or worse: "Don't cry." They'll tell you to "toughen up." Don't listen. The deeper you bury your hurts and fears, the more painful they become. Instead, acknowledge your difficult feelings and hold them gently. Allow them to be what they are without trying to change them and trust that they will pass.

2. Everything is Temporary: To read the rest of the article, click here.

Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers

posted Jun 3, 2015, 7:30 AM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Jun 3, 2015, 7:32 AM ]

The suicide rate among black children has nearly doubled since the early 1990s, while the rate for white children has declined, a new study has found, an unusual pattern that seemed to suggest something troubling was happening among some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

Suicide among children ages 5 to 11, the age range the study measured, is rare, and researchers had to blend several years of data to get reliable results. The findings, which measured the period from 1993 to 2012, were so surprising that researchers waited for an additional year of data to check them. The trend did not change.

Suicide rates are almost always lower among blacks than among whites of any age. But the study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, found that the rate had risen so steeply among black children — to 2.54 from 1.36 per one million children — that it was substantially above the rate among white children by the end of the period. The rate for white children fell to 0.77 per million from 1.14.

To continue reading this article from The New York Times, click here.

MIT eases workload, offers support after recent suicides

posted May 27, 2015, 12:44 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated May 27, 2015, 12:48 PM ]

Maggie Delano never scored below a 90 on a high school exam. But her first semester at MIT, she said, she got a 27 on a physics test and finished the class with a D.

Delano pulled all-nighters every Wednesday of sophomore year, struggling under a weekly wave of problem sets and ending every Thursday exhausted.

 “I was devastated because I had never failed at anything ever before,” said Delano, now a PhD student and mentor to undergrads who offers them one piece of advice: “Please, remember to sleep.”

Stress is a natural part of college life, but some students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say it can seem overwhelming at the elite school teeming with overachievers who are strangers to failure.

Click here to read the full story.

Preventing Suicide With A 'Contagion Of Strength'

posted Feb 26, 2015, 12:19 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team

For Whitney Bischoff, high school was tough. On the first day of her freshman year, a childhood friend committed suicide. Things weren't any better at home — her father died when she was 7 and her mom was an alcoholic with an abusive boyfriend.

She had a hard time making friends.

And when all the stress threatened to overwhelm her, she, too, considered suicide.

"I thought family was everything," Bischoff says. "I thought, if I didn't have family support – what am I going to do? Suicide seemed like the only way out."

Read the complete article here on

How Facebook Is Helping Suicidal People

posted Feb 26, 2015, 12:14 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Feb 26, 2015, 12:19 PM ]

Facebook will offer suicide prevention resources to users posting troubling messages.

Facebook is going to give timelier help to users who post updates suggesting thoughts of suicide, the company announced on Wednesday. 

According to a Facebook post written by Product Manager Rob Boyle and Safety Specialist Nicole Staubli, a trained team will review reports of posts that appear to be suicidal and if necessary send the poster notifications with suicide prevention resources, such as a connection to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline.

Read the complete article here on

Transgender teen's suicide note: ‘My death needs to mean something’

posted Dec 31, 2014, 8:05 AM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Dec 31, 2014, 8:05 AM ]

The suicide of a transgender teen is catching national attention in part because of a suicide note she left behind online. Leelah Alcorn, 17, of Kings Mills, Ohio, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on I-71 about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to local media.

Posthumous posts started to appear on her Tumblr page, titled “Lazer Princess,” including her suicide note and a post apologizing to her closest friends. “My death needs to mean something,” she wrote. “My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f---ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”

Read the full article on Yahoo News.

House passes suicide prevention bill, Senate awaits

posted Dec 15, 2014, 7:20 AM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Dec 15, 2014, 7:30 AM ]

The House on Tuesday passed sweeping veterans suicide prevention legislation as one of its final legislative acts of the year, but the measure still faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention bill, named for a Marine veteran activist who took his own life in 2011, would improve access to mental health care for troops and veterans, enhance Veterans Affairs Department recruiting efforts for psychiatrists, and mandate evaluations of existing prevention programs to ensure their effectiveness.

House lawmakers approved the measure by a simple voice vote without objection, calling the legislation a critical outreach effort to veterans in need. But whether the bill becomes a last-minute triumph for veterans advocates or another gridlock disappointment will depend on whether the Senate also can approve the measure by the end of the week.

Click here to read the full article on You may also want to check out "The Life and Death of Clay Hunt" from CBS News which originally aired on 60 Minutes on March 3, 2012.

NOTE FROM THE YSA:  At first glance, this article might not appear to be relevant to the issues of youth suicide. However, we need to keep in mind that a number of youth in our county are the children of active duty military officers in a number of branches of the armed forces and are deeply affected by the issues that plague military veterans. But above and beyond that, our group focuses on the youth population aged 10 to 24 and nearly 50% of all enlisted active duty military are under the age of 25. We need to remember that many of our combat veterans are still very young, experiencing horrible tragedies and stress associated with active combat, and lacking the resources needed to preserve their mental well being.

Mother Shares Story of Son's Suicide

posted Dec 11, 2014, 1:58 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team

After her 13-year-old son killed himself last month, a Georgetown mother is working to make sure everyone realizes just how much kindness matters.

Peyton James' mother said her son was a pretty non-traditional kid. He didn't excel at sports, liked to read and play video games and with red hair and blue eyes, he didn't look like most kids. However, no one could have ever predicted he would take his own life. After so much pain, his mother wants to help her community heal.

James said she'll never find purpose in her son's death but wants it to leave a lasting legacy.

Click here to read the full story.

12-Year-Old's Suicide Sparks Social-Media Outrage: Is It Enough?

posted Dec 11, 2014, 1:43 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team

It’s been nearly a week since Ronin Shimizu, 12, a bright-eyed California boy who was passionate about cheerleading and fashion, committed suicide, following years of being bullied. And in the time since his death, social media has exploded with post-mortem sorrow, outrage, and several tributes, as well as a memorial Go Fund Me page that’s raised more than $10,000 in just two days.

“The fact that kids bullied this twelve year old boy so bad that he wanted to take his own life makes me sick to my stomach,” cried out one tweet in an endless stream of those using hashtags #RIPRonin and #RIPRoninShimizu this week. “That poor boy was only 12 years old,” wrote another. “Watch your words, they can cause more pain than you may know.”

But still another expressed a feeling of futility. It asked, simply, “Why do people only start paying attention when it’s too late?”

Click here to read the rest of this story on Yahoo Parenting.

Persistence, acceptance helped Rachel Vander Kolk navigate twin sister's death

posted Aug 11, 2014, 6:32 PM by Youth Suicide Awareness Action Team   [ updated Aug 11, 2014, 6:39 PM ]

By T.C. Cameron

It has been more than two years since Rachel Vander Kolk woke in the middle of the night to learn her twin sister, Tracy, had taken her own life.

"Why didn't I notice anything?" Rachel said. "I felt like I should have recognized she was hurting because I was her twin sister."

It would be some time before she learned to accept there was nothing she could have done.

Read the full story at The Capital Gazette online.

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