According to The National Institute of Mental Health, suicide claimed the lives of 4784 young Americans in 1995.(NIMH, 1998) Efforts to prevent these tragic events requires the cooperation of the education system, the community, and the family. Steps must be taken to educate the public about the dimensions of the problem and about what can be done to reduce the incidence of youth suicide.
Strategies aimed at improving the well-being of young people by helping them develop a sense of purpose, self-respect and self-confidence must be applied in the schools, in the home, and in the community. The public must be educated about the events or behaviors that may place a person at risk of suicide. Recognition of these factors is a first step toward management of young people at risk. In the event that a suicide has already occurred, the risk of suicide contagion must be minimized.
Young people are a precious asset and the loss of even one is a tragic event. Each one of us needs to know how to reach out to a young person who may be feeling that suicide is the only solution to their pain or overwhelming feelings. There is no typical suicide and the possibility of suicide should never be dismissed. A life may depend on it.