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World Suicide Awareness Day is Monday

By Staff | Sep 6, 2018

It’s often difficult to see how one truly feels on the inside.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, with World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th.

“Currently, suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24,” said Brett Marciel, director of Business Development and Public Relations for The Jason Foundation, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide. “We lose an average of more than 118 young people each week to suicide in this age group in the U.S. The number of suicide deaths for ages 10-14 have more than doubled since 2006.”

The foundation works though educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators, youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.

There are ways to help family and friends who may be going through a rough time, or are feeling severely depressed, before they take a self-harm action, Marciel said.

“Four out of five young people who attempt suicide exhibit clear warning signs prior to attempt,” he said.

Warning signs to look for include, but are not limited to:

* Talking about suicide.

* Making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless.

* A deepening depression.

* Preoccupation with death.

* Taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting self-destructive behavior.

* Out-of-character behavior.

* A loss of interest in the things one cares about.

* Visiting or calling people one cares about.

* Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order.

* Giving prized possessions away.

“Suicide has been called a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said Marciel. “Never be reluctant to get involved and always take any child/adolescent’s desire or intent to harm themselves seriously. If you suspect a young person of suicidal ideation, get them to professional help immediately.”

Lee County is playing a part in suicide prevention in schools as well, according to Lee County School District spokesperson Rob Spicker.

“Each school has the ability to engage in suicide prevention to the degree that works best for the developmental stage of their student body,” he said. “The topic of suicide is discussed within our Health and Physical Education (HOPE) courses and within the ROTC courses at the high school levels.”

“In addition, through our School Counseling and Prevention Services Departments, we support the schools with resources, handouts, and connections to suicide prevention curricula,” Spicker said.

The schools also have a flier to help parents create a dialogue with their children about suicide.

The two-page guide helps parents understand how to approach their children on the topic, that it is an ongoing process and what warning signs to look for.

Lee County had 114 deaths due to suicide in 2017, according to the Florida Department of Health. That ranked as the 10th highest county in the state last year.

Since 1998, Lee County has steadily had a higher number of suicide deaths per 100,000 people than the rest of Florida.

Since 2009, at least 100 people have committed suicide in Lee County, the high being 144 in 2014.

Miami-Dade County had the highest number of suicide deaths in 2017, with 241.

There were 3,187 total suicide deaths in Florida in 2017.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. It will connect you with the closest certified crisis help call center. The line is toll-free and available 24/7.

For more information on The Jason Foundation, including the curriculum and programs they offer at no coast to the public, visit www.jasonfoundation.com.

SalusCare Cape Coral Campus, a behavioral health care facility is at located at 1105 Cultural Park Boulevard, and can be reached by calling 239-772-1211.

– Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj