National Suicide Hotline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
If you, your child, or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
Children and youth can have thoughts of suicide for many reasons, especially when they experience so much stress that they feel overwhelmed and cannot cope.
Typical stresses include:
- People: feeling disconnected, or having conflict with parents, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, employers
- School: problems with schoolwork, peers, bullying, peer pressure, teachers
- Family: parent's separation, divorce or mental health problems; problems getting along with parents, siblings
- Mental health: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or addictions
- Secrets: Having to keep secrets from others. Youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered may feel pressured to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity from others, causing immense stress. This is usually out of fear, because they worry about being rejected should they be ‘outed’. Other secrets include sexual abuse, which children and youth often hide from parents.
Children and youth can feel suicidal when they feel:
- Disconnected from others
- Helpless to deal with their stress
- Hopeless that their stress or situation will not improve
When people have overcome their feelings of suicide, there is one protective factor that stands out – a supportive relationship with at least one significant other… Be that person who matters!
No matter what stress youth are feeling, you can help youth who are feeling suicidal by helping them to:
- Feel more connected with others again
- Gain a sense of control over their lives (to overcome helplessness)
- See that things will get better (hope!)
Children and youth may be thinking about suicide if they:
- Talk about suicide and about what it would be like if they were gone. For example, they may say things like, “When I’m gone ...” or ask questions like, “What would it be like if I wasn’t around?”
- Express feelings of worthlessness, for example, “I’m no good to anybody.”
- Seem hopeless about the future, saying things like, “What’s the use?”
- Become pre-occupied with giving away their belongings.
Kansas Youth Suicide Statistical Impact
When young people were asked in Kansas:
“Have you experienced the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or greater during the past twelve months (possible beginning of clinical depression)?”
24.0% answered YES or Almost 1 out of every 4 young people. Compared to Nationally – 29.9% (depression is a leading cause of suicide). This equates to 49,968 youth in the state that will have these feelings in the next 12 months if nothing is done differently.
“Have you seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months?”
16.4% answered YES or Almost one out of every six young people. Compared to nation statistics – 17.0%. This equates to 34,145 youth in the state that will consider suicide in the next 12 months if nothing is done differently.
“Have you made a plan to commit suicide in the past twelve months?”
12.5% answered YES or one out of every eight young people. Compared to national statistics – 13.6%. This equates to 26,025 youth in the state that will make a plan if nothing is done differently.
“Have you attempted suicide in the past twelve months?”
8.4% answered YES or Over one out of every 12 young people. Compared to national statistics – 8.0%. This equates to 17,489 youth in the state that will make an attempt in the next 12 months if nothing is done differently. This is an average of 48 per day.
The Jason Flatt Youth Suicide Awareness Act
The provisions of this bill relevant to suicide awareness and prevention are:
The board of education of each school district shall provide suicide awareness and prevention programming to all school staff and shall notify the parents or legal guardians of students enrolled in such school district that the training materials provided under such programming are available to such parents or legal guardians.
Such programming shall include at a minimum:
At least one hour of training each calendar year based on programs approved by the State Board of Education. Such training may be satisfied through independent self-review of suicide prevention training materials; and
A building crisis plan developed for each school building. Such plan shall include:
- Steps for recognizing suicide ideation;
- Appropriate methods of interventions; and
- A crisis recovery plan.
On or before January 1, 2017, the State Board of Education shall adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this section.