September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
According to the Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Book, 27.7% of Indiana students reported seriously considering attempting suicide.
Data on the iyi.org website show in Indiana, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24 and the fourth leading cause of death for youth ages 5 to 14.
Experts and teens list several reasons for the increase, including insufficient mental health screening, poor access to mental health services and resistance to seeking care.
In response, next month, the Indiana Youth Institute will hold a webinar led by Megan Banet of the Indiana Center for Prevention of Youth Abuse and Suicide.
Banet will frame data and research on suicide among young people. In addition, attendees will learn about youth mental health, risk factors, warning signs, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies.
The webinar, “The Kids are Not OK, Youth Suicide in Indiana,” will be from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 20.
Participants will leave with resources and strategies on ways schools, families and communities can support young people in distress.
There are two learning objectives of the webinar: Understand the data and research on youth suicide as it affects Indiana’s kids and gain resources, best practices and strategies to address youth mental health and suicide concerns.
The 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey released in the fall of 2022 provided data related to youth suicide in Indiana.
On the iyi.org website, Tami Silverman, the youth institute’s president and CEO, stated those who work in youth services are thankful there is growing public awareness of the significant mental health issues children face, including youth suicide and the effects of adverse childhood experiences and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition, there is widespread support for increasing access to mental health services for children and youth, and there are many ways we can and should help children get the mental health care that they need,” Silverman wrote. “Teachers, counselors, coaches, youth group leaders and out-of-school care providers are crucial to preventing and intervening to address youth suicide.”
Silverman said their efforts alone are not enough, as a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found while most public schools offer students some mental health services, only 56% have the capacity to provide services to all of their students with such needs.
“We all can help increase the well-being of our children and reduce suicide rates by understanding the scope of the issue, recognizing and reducing those factors that increase suicidality and increasing the factors and resources that can provide better protection,” she said.
Lindsay Sarver, community health improvement strategist for the Healthy Jackson County mental health and substance use taskforce at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, said the Indiana Youth Institute does a lot of work in the community.
“They collect data for youth prevention and interventions to promote evidence-based programming to support our children and communities,” Sarver said. “I’ve attended some webinars and trainings they put on and and really benefited.”
She said “The Kids are Not OK, Youth Suicide in Indiana” webinar training is open to anyone who would like to attend.
“I would say they’re most appropriate for people who want to learn more about the topic at hand, including parents, school teachers, social workers or those who interact with children,” Sarver said. “They have access to great higher level learning, but they are accessible to almost anyone. I highly recommend anyone interested to attend.”
The registration link for the webinar is indianayouthinstitute.my.salesforce-sites.com/event/home/iyiwebinar092023.
To find out more about the Indiana Youth Institute, visit iyi.org.