Should September in New Jersey Be Devoted to Telling Families How to Help Suicidally Depressed Teens?
Is suicide something that happens only to a few marginalized families, or only to people whom ‘no one knows’? Hardly. It happens down the street, to our friends and neighbors.
Shockingly, suicide is the third leading cause of death for New Jersey children and young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to The New Jersey Department of Children and Families. In response to this crisis in young people’s self-inflicted deaths, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, a Democrat, sponsored a New Jersey bill which aims to raise awareness for everyone about suicide prevention steps to take when faced with a situation that could spiral.
The bill, AJR 102, will dedicate every September in New Jersey as being “Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness Month”. If loved ones, families and teachers know the warning signs of suicide, prevention can help save lives. Right now, though, people are not aware of suicide warning signs, and so families and mentors lack suicide prevention strategies.
Assemblywoman Quijano lists in her bill some common warning signs for loved ones to be mindful of – signs that can signal a suicidal child oh young adult:
previous suicide attempts; current talk of suicide or making a plan to attempt suicide; a strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death; giving away prized possessions; moodiness; increased alcohol or other drug use; hinting at not being around in the future; or saying good-bye to family and friends.
These behaviors should not be taken lightly, the bill points out. They can reveal that a young person desperately needs the help and support of loved ones as well as trained intervention from a crisis counselor or from others. A person who is able to identify when a young friend or family member is suffering with depression may have a better chance of helping that person seek out the proper mental health care.
Use Daily Clout’s BillCam to support Ms. Quijano’s bill, if you think we all need to know more about how to spot the signs of suicidal thoughts and feelings in our children and young adults; and share the BillCam throughout your social networks, if you do support this bill, in order to raise public awareness about how to prevent youth suicide.