Judges have become important behavioral health champions, and transformative leaders in matters of therapeutic justice. Yet, there is more to do to develop community partnership and alliances to advance Zero Suicide Initiatives on local and state levels.
Three years ago my brother took his own life. For him it became the only option he could imagine that would end his depression. He left behind many grief-stricken friends, family and relatives who still struggle to understand. We’re far from alone in our grief. Tonight somewhere in America a mother buries her head in her pillow as she sobs out her grief to the heavens.
Teenagers and college students live in tumultuous times. Physical changes, high school graduation, going off to college, moving away from the parents — all of these things can cause personality and mood changes in young adults. So how does one know the difference between “normal” bouts of depression, sadness and erratic behavior, and what could potentially be a red flag for suicidal tendencies? Every 15 minutes (about the amount of time that it takes to down a cup of coffee) one person will commit suicide, according to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by intervention from those close to the victims, but often the warning signs were ignored because the subject is awkward, according to Mary Ann Camann, PhD, an associate professor at the WellStar School of Nursing at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people are up to seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers and transgender kids also have higher rates of suicidal behavior. This information comes from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and spurred the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) to launch a new task force that targets LGBT young people. The Alliance was created last September as a partnership with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Several suicides involving LGBT teens made headlines last year. The most notable may be the Rutgers University freshman who jumped to his death from a bridge after his private encounter with another boy was posted on the Internet.