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Courageous conversations about teen suicide can save lives

Teen suicide is on the rise in the state of Arizona and has been for the past decade.

As scary as it is to think about it, it IS preventable, and it is everyone’s responsibility.

There have been many lives saved because of the courageous conversations like we had Thursday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show.

Many news outlets and online articles that are geared towards parents outline the growing rise in anxiety, depression, and self-harm of the iGeneration, or Generation Z. It can be overwhelming as a parent of any age child to wonder,  “Is this generation OK?”

They are indeed OK. More than OK!

As we look across the landscape of the push to destigmatize mental illness and to be proactive about overall wellness, we have asked them, as Dr. Aaron Krasnow pointed out in our podcast, to come forward.

They’re doing what we have told them to.

They are seeking help.

Now they need to find it.

It is going to take a collective group of individuals, school districts, municipalities, law enforcement, faith communities as well as local businesses to move the needle on this public health crisis.

There are many evidence-based prevention agencies offering services and personnel statewide on this issue: Teen LifeLine, NotMYKid, Community Bridges Inc. as well as the Arizona chapter or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention just to name a few.

If you are seeking help for a child or loved one, I encourage you to listen intently to the person in distress, offer your love and support, as well as to reach out to these agencies for clinical advisement and support.

In addition, I would save their information and hotline numbers in the “favorites” section of your phone in order to be able to connect to these types of supports quickly for yourself and others.

Katey McPherson is a Chandler-based digital wellness consultant. She joined Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes on Thursday during an hour-long discussion on the topic of teen suicide in Arizona.

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