By Mike Huntley, Executive Director

Thank you all for taking a few extra minutes to read and digest this month’s newsletter. It contains important information on a variety of resources related to suicide prevention. Please read them and increase your awareness on what can be done.

For many years the MN Student Survey has been collecting data from youth about youth. Year after year the data was showing that the highest risk for suicide seemed to be for 9th grade females, in comparison to other age groups or genders of students. In the early 2000’s Washington County made a concerted effort to help reduce the risk of suicide with a variety of awareness events and suicide prevention activities… and the suicide risk numbers in the MN Student Survey for our area actually began to show a decline. Those efforts are effective.  However, the pattern remained in which the highest reported risk was with 9th grade girls, and in recent years, 8th grade girls as well. In 2010 the Suicide Prevention Collaborative (SPC) arose following more tragic deaths in the area. SPC began a new campaign of awareness activities, and the efforts continue.

Don’t let data mislead you. Boys think about, and can act on, suicide too – they just verbalize it a lot less, and when they do share it can often sound different. Listen carefully and with awareness.

One more comment – suicide is not about wanting to die (it never has been about that).  Suicide is about wanting to end the pain. Listen carefully and with awareness.

This newsletter is intended to help raise your awareness. Please contact YSB for more information. You can also contact the local Suicide Prevention Collaborative for more information; the SPC and Washington County offer an educational program called QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) – it is designed to save lives.

Washington County’s 2019 Student Survey click here