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Walk for Life: Youth Suicide Prevention

October 16, 2012

Ramona Walk for Life

Ramona’s community is preparing for its annual Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Walk, this year scheduled for Saturday, November 3, 11:00AM – 3:00PM at the Ramona High School Track.  The Ramona Unified School District, San Diego County Sheriff Department, Palomar  Health, Sun Valley Council PTA,  Mental Health Systems, Inc. and Vista Hill’s Learning Assistance Center and SmartCare Programs are collaborating together to educate and encourage our community members to reach out to our young people.

Yellow Ribbon is dedicated to preventing youth suicide and attempts by making suicide prevention accessible to everyone and removing barriers to help by  empowering communities and individuals through leadership, awareness and education and  by collaborating and partnering with support networks to save lives”.

The community of Ramona, like so many others, has recently been touched by the devastating tragedy of a young person dying due to overwhelming hopelessness and despair, leaving family, friends, and acquaintances wondering what they might have done to prevent such a tragedy.  Although not always preventable, being informed about risk factors and knowing about available resources can make a significant difference. 

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after accidents and homicide. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide.

The risk of suicide increases significantly if youth have access to firearms in their homes, as well as to prescription and non-prescription medications.  Teens who are being bullied, who are going through family difficulties (divorce, financial, moving, etc.) those with mental health struggles (anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug use), victims of abuse, struggling with sexual orientation issues, lack of peer support, or problems at school may all contribute to suicidal feelings. 

According to Teen Health, here are some warning signs for youth who may be thinking of suicide:

•talk about suicide or death in general

•give hints that they might not be around anymore

•talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty

•pull away from friends or family

•write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss

•start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends

•lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities

•have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly

•experience changes in eating or sleeping habits

•engage in risk-taking behaviors

•lose interest in school or sports

As a concerned parent, ask the tough questions.  As a concerned friend, reach out and tell an adult.

Some valuable resources are:

San Diego’s Access and Crisis Line: 1-800-479-3339

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Ramona’s Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Walk will be a day of reflection and hope.  We encourage you to come out with your children and participate.

Pamela Bryson, LCSW

2011 Yellow Ribbon Walk

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