Many teens in South Dakota know someone who has thought about suicide, attempted suicide or died by suicide. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 24, second only to accidents for this age group. The same is true for South Dakota youth ages 10 to 24, where it is the second leading cause of death as well, again, second only to accidents,.
These statistics are particularly alarming because this does not have to be the case. Suicide is often preventable if one knows the warning signs to look for and is able to access help. There is not an easy answer as to why a young person might want to end their life, as often there are multiple reasons that exist. Sometimes there is an illness such as depression. There may be other triggering factors such as a loss or other stressful life event. In most cases, the youth does not want to die but wants a way to end the unbearable pain they are experiencing.
One way to help reduce suicide among youth and teens is to implement lethal means counseling. Lethal means counseling is helpful in reducing suicide deaths by helping families of youth to understand and make plans to remove lethal means from their home and/or secure them properly. This includes removing or locking firearms and disposing or securing medicine bottles. More information on lethal means counseling can be found a Leatha Means Counseling Ι Means Matter Ι Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health or CALM: Counseling on Access to Lethal Means Ι Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- SD Youth Suicide Infographic – 2020
- Adolescents — Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Help a Friend In Need—Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Suicide Prevention in Schools: Strategies for COVID-19—Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- A Model School Policy on Suicide Prevention: Model Language, Commentary and Resources—Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Weapon Carrying at School and Suicide Attempts among U.S. Teens—Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- Suicide Prevention: Reducing Access to Lethal Means—Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
- Let’s Talk About Mental Health Guide—Lost&Found
- Bethe1SD—South Dakota Suicide Prevention
- Active Minds—Changing the conversation about mental health
- NAMI SD Youth Mental Health Guide