September heralds the start to the school year. This year, our students and teachers are dealing with a new battle – isolation, fear and worry due to Covid-19. These risk factors exacerbate an already heightened risk of suicide in our Parkland community. However, hope remains. It seems that a sea change is happening in our nation in regards to suicidality. In July, the FCC unanimously voted to have a national three-digit hotline implemented by 2022. Soon, we will be able to contact 988 during a suicidal crisis. According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the nation’s suicide rates are at the highest point since World War II. What is more, suicide disproportionately affects marginalized groups – Black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, striking teens and young adults particularly hard.1 What’s more worrisome is that the vast majority of the adults who responded to a recent JAMA poll are reporting serious psychological distress – more than three times as many as reported two years ago.2 While these two groups, teens and adults, may seem separate they are intrinsically linked. Children and teens are vastly influenced by the adults in their lives. A recent re-analysis of an early 2000’s study on suicide prevention in teens, saw that the teens that identified caring adults to be trained and supported in talking with teens about their suicidal thoughts, were less likely to have completed suicide almost a dozen years later.3 What we can pull from this new JAMA analysis, is that if we can help pair struggling teens with healthy, caring adults, they will do better. This is where another duality of suicide comes to light – we need both prevention and awareness to make a change. At Professionals United for Parkland, we know that our community has been struggling with a rise in mental health issues, PTSD and stress which increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. With Covid-19, we have a rupture in our social supports which acts as a safety net. Now we need your help to have those hard conversations with your children, teens and family members. They may be hurting. Ask them how they are doing. Acknowledge their pain and try not to fix it, this lets them know you are truly listening. You don’t have to do it alone. Professionals United for Parkland has a dedicated cadre of clinicians ready to support your family and the community at large. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Please continue to check our Facebook page for updates and let us know if you have any questions. If you would like to join our therapist directory, apply here. We look forward to continuing to serve our community with you.
Honoring the 17
This month, Professionals United for Parkland honors Martin Duque Anguiano. At Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Martin received accolades as a JROTC cadet for perfect attendance, good conduct, leadership