First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
Almost one in five teenagers has experienced thoughts of suicide, according to a recent youth survey noted by the Centers for Disease Control. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents following unintentional and accidental injuries.
International expert Dr. Jonathan B. Singer will help parents, students and educators to better understand and learn how to prevent these “youth tragedies” when he speaks during a virtual speaker series event hosted by the San Marino Unified School District’s Partnership for Awareness on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
As President of the American Association of Suicidology and co-author of “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multilevel Prevention, Assessment, Intervention and Postvention,” Singer has vast knowledge on the topic.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Partnership for Awareness recognizes the importance of raising understanding of this sensitive subject matter.
According to Singer’s review of current data trends, the rise in emotional distress experienced by youth during the pandemic has led to an increased number of suicide attempts among adolescent females, but not necessarily among males. Deaths — completed suicides — have apparently not increased.
He finds that schools and educators have special insight and have a “unique understanding of the fishbowl that kids swim in.” However, he says that schools shouldn’t be solely responsible for suicide prevention, which he says is truly a community effort.
“One of the best things you can do as a parent for your child is to validate their experiences, acknowledge their feelings and let them know you want to hear what’s going on with them,” Singer said.
Singer sends a special message to youth: “You’re entitled to love, safety and security. Killing yourself is not the solution to feeling sad, scared and hopeless. The solution is finding those friends and trusted adults and letting them know that you want help.”
Singer is a licensed clinical social worker, associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago and is the founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast. He resides in Evanston, Illinois with his wife and three children.
For more information and to access the virtual event’s Zoom link, visit partnershipforawareness.org.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis or thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at (800) 273-8255 (TALK) or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.