September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. As fathers who lost teenagers to suicide, and know the sting of losing a loved one to suicide, we urge you today and in the future, to learn the warning signs and risk factors for your friends, kids, and grandkids, and also know the protective factors that can help them stay safe. This information can be found on our website, SPTSUSA.ORG. We can’t do anything to save the kids we have lost, but we can do something about helping the kids that are still with us. This year, starting on the 10th of September, we will be pushing for mental health providers to be trained in suicide prevention. Many, if not most mental health professionals, have never had any training in the assessment and treatment of suicide. This is a critical piece of the prevention equation and has to change.
Remember, friends help friends.
Scott Fritz and Don Quigley
As a mental health professional who has spent over 30 years in the field of youth suicide prevention, I approach this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day with mixed feelings. My optimism is firmly rooted in the fact that we are finally talking about suicide openly and publicly; the national strategy, developed by the Surgeon General in 2000, has been updated to reflect ongoing research and the accomplishments of the last ten years; and a new generation of professionals are developing and evaluating programs aimed at youth suicide prevention. My disappointment is that despite all the work we’ve done in the past, the suicide rate for youth has remained relatively the same. Clearly, our work is nowhere near done. We still need to dedicate our time, energy, intellect and passion to prevention activities. I encourage you to join all of the families, volunteers and professionals who make up the SPTS family in pledging your continuing commitment to this life-saving effort.
Maureen M Underwood LCSW
SPTS Clinical Director