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#RealTalkSuicide: A Community Conversation About Suicide Prevention
According to the American Association of Suicidology, there is a suicide in the United States every 12.8 minutes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 15-24 years old, and it is the 10th leading cause of death overall (AAS.org). While other causes of death have decreased due to advances in medicine and technology, suicide sadly has not.
In the most recently published Nebraska Vital Statistics Report, 220 people died by suicide in Nebraska in 2013. This number has surpassed the amount of vehicular deaths we had in the state in 2014.
In September, The Kim Foundation was approached by Bellevue Public Schools (BPS) regarding concerns they had about suicides in their community. The Kim Foundation, along with other mental health and local suicide prevention professionals, was given the opportunity to speak with BPS faculty and staff during an in-service. We spoke openly about suicide and answered many questions the staff had about how to start the conversation among their own student body. We talked about mental health, suicide prevention practices, warning signs, risk factors, and what to do after a suicide death. The discussion lasted nearly two hours.
After the in-service ended, we continued working closely with the district in planning a suicide prevention event for all local middle and high school aged students as well as their parents. Around the same time that this process began, we received a visit from a concerned pastor who was also feeling compelled to offer the Bellevue community support and education around the topic of suicide.
“The trend with mental health among students has increased more rapidly than adults over the past decades and I think we are seeing more and more of these issues in our schools,” said Kevin Mills, Bellevue Public Schools’ Student Services Coordinator. “The trend with suicide rates over the past years for students has risen slightly, but even one is too many.”
Following a cluster of youth suicides in Lincoln last year, The Kim Foundation partnered with a group of faith communities to host a free community event called, It’s OK to Ask 4 Help. This prevention event had more than 600 people in attendance, both youth and adults. On Thursday, January 14th 2016, we will be holding a similar event in Bellevue, #RealTalkSuicide: A Community Conversation About Suicide Prevention. The event is free to the community and will be hosted by the Bellevue Christian Center.
The event will include two separate Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention presentations, one for youth and the other for adults. Following both presentations, there will be a panel of survivors, experts, and law enforcement. The panelists will share their own personal experiences with suicide, and then be available for questions and comments.
“Building one-to-one relationships between families, educators, and community service providers is our best chance in providing students with the support to succeed,” said Mills. “Events like this one, gives us an opportunity to have conversations with families, students, and community members to collaborate and match services with needs. After all, we are all in this together.”
The event will also have mental and behavioral health booths available with information on services and other local resources. Please join us for this very important event . . . let’s talk about suicide.
For questions about #RealTalkSuicide: A Community Conversation About Suicide, please contact Jill Hamilton, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jill Hamilton, The Kim Foundation Project Coordinator
Jill Hamilton has been the Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation since 2014. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. Since working at the foundation, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska LOSS Advisory Committee, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, The Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, Nebraska State Conference Planning Committee; she is a volunteer mentor with Y.E.S., and serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Metro Area LOSS Team.