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Preventing youth & teen suicides in Arizona

Posted at 3:38 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 17:38:30-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Diana Jiminez-Young from Child and Family Resources says the majority of time, suicide comes with a warning.

According to the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Southern Arizona

  • Arizonans are more then twice as likely to die from suicide than homicide
  • more than 1,000 Arizonans die from suicide each year 
  • the state holds a suicide rate 38% higher than the rest of the country
Diana works with teens and parents in Pima County about what leads youth in Arizona to take their own lives. She says one of the biggest warning signs is when someone experiences a significant loss.
 
"Are the expectations that we're putting on our youth today realistic?," said Diana. "I think sometimes when we don't talk about it in a normalized way, what is attainable and achievable for our youth. Are we pushing them to the point where maybe they don't have the capacity to meet and they feel disappointed or they feel like a failure? Often, it's really about a loss for them and feeling like 'okay, if I cant do this then what can I do?"'
 
 
According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds, falling behind car accidents and homicides. Fortunately, there are ways you can help keep your children out of danger.
 
"We know that firearms in the home increase the risk of suicide," said Diana. "Especially if they have access to them. Or prescription drugs that are not locked up. Those tend to be the lethal means that teens unfortunately use in their homes to die by suicide or attempt suicide." 
 
Other signs to look for include:
  • changes in mood & behavior
  • feeling hopeless
  • increase in aggression or impulsiveness
  • feeling ashamed or humiliated
  • expressing suicidal thoughts
 
"People are telling us in the best way they know how that they are thinking about suicide," said Diana. "They're putting out what we call invitations and they want to know who is noticing. Who is noticing my behavior change? Who is noticing? It's not what I say but how I'm saying it. Who's noticing that I've been really angry or really depressed for a really long time?"
 
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are services available. A 24/7 hotline is available for 8 counties in Southern Arizona at 1-866-495-6735. You can also visit teenlifeline.org