Press Release - September 10, 2013

Contact:  Andrea Wojcik
302-633-2501 or 985-1330 (c)

DE Children’s Department Highlights Youth Suicide Prevention Resources

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day

Wilmington, DE – Suicide is the third leading cause of death for children, teenagers and young adults (ages 10 to 24) nationwide.  In Delaware, approximately 3,000 high school students admit to attempting suicide the previous year.  This averages out to two high school students in a class of 24. In Delaware’s middle schools, 1 in 7 students have attempted suicide at some point in his or her life.  In many cases their parents and teachers had no knowledge that a suicide attempt had occurred. 

World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.  In recognition of this important event, the Delaware Children’s Department through its Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services (PBHS) is making families aware of potential warning signs for suicide attempts, and resources available locally to help children. 

PBHS wants people who are despairing and thinking about suicide to know that there is help available. All you need to do is to ask. Resources for families with children under 18, or youth themselves who are thinking of committing suicide, have made a plan to do so, or have made a suicide attempt include: calling DPBHS’ Child Priority Response crisis service 1-800-969 HELP (4357); or Contact Lifeline, Delaware’s Local Connection to the National Suicide Prevention Network, at 1-800-272-9800. Both services are available 24/7 and are confidential.

Additionally, teens and children can look for information online at http://delteenspace.org/life.html .  Families can visit https://kids.delaware.gov/information/suicideprevention.shtml for a full list of resources statewide.

Warning signs for suicidal behavior that both youth and adults should be on the lookout for, can be remembered by using the acronym FACTS (Feelings, Action, Changes, Threats, Situations).  Families should get immediate attention for a Child who is making direct statements or behaviors related to suicide or being dead.  Below are some examples of FACTS:
 
Feelings: Hopelessness- feeling like things are bad and won't get any better; Fear of harming himself/herself or others; Worthlessness - feeling like an awful person and people would be better off if he/she were dead
Action: Drug or alcohol abuse; Talking or writing about death or destruction; Recklessness - doing risky or dangerous things
Changes: (examples) In Personality - behaving like a different person, becoming withdrawn, not caring about anything; Sleeping and eating patterns - sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep at all; Losing interest in friends, hobbies, and appearance, or in activities or sports previously enjoyed
Threats: Like "I won't be around much longer"; Plans like giving away favorite things, obtaining a weapon or a stash of pills: Suicide attempts like overdosing, wrist cutting
Situations: Getting into trouble at school, at home, or with the law; Recent loss through death, divorce, or separation; the break-up of a relationship; losing an opportunity or a dream; losing self-esteem; Being exposed to suicide or the death of a peer under any circumstances

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov .