The Positivity You Share Could Save a Life

September was first declared as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008. Since then, September has been designated as a time to acknowledge those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a person dies by suicide approximately every two hours in Texas. When a person dies by suicide, those left behind are often burdened with conflicting feelings of guilt, anger and grief, as well as posttraumatic stress and other major life disruptions. Moreso, there is evidence to show that loss survivors are often at a greater risk of attempting or dying by suicide. This dangerous cycle of mental illness can affect anyone regardless of their circumstances, means, histories, ages and identities. However, reports show that youth, especially those in the foster care system, are extremely vulnerable to suicide ideation, attempts or deaths.

Texas CASA is a strong advocate for raising awareness of mental health topics, especially as it relates to suicide prevention. In an effort to promote further understanding, we feel it is important to first dive into the sobering statistics of suicide as it relates to Texas youth. The Report on Suicide and Suicide Prevention in Texas 2022 Update (revised January 2023) by the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council provides a comprehensive understanding of suicide prevention work in Texas. According to the report:

  • “The rate of suicide mortality for youth in the foster care system is more than three times the rate for youth in Texas.”
  • “Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for individuals 15-34 years old” (Texas)
  • “The highest rates for Poison Control calls concerning suspected suicide occurred with female adolescents 13 to 19 years old.” (Texas)
  • “Texas’ suicide attempt rate for high school students is higher than the national rate. The rate has increased 36.7 percent since Texas began measuring the rate in 2001, while the U.S. rate has stayed the same in the same time frame.”
  • “In 2020, there were 2,966 hospitalizations in Texas for attempted suicide for ages 0-17.”
  • Suspected Suicide Calls to Poison Control Network for 6-12- year-old age group in 2021 (Texas): Females: 902; Males: 114
  • Suspected Suicide Calls to Poison Control Network for 13-19- year-old age group in 2021 (Texas): Females: 8,953; Males: 2,343
  • Suicide Mortality in Youth and Young Adults in 2020 in Texas:
    • Age group 10-14 = 57
    • Age group 15-19 = 265

These startling statistics illustrate the importance of having a firm understanding of suicide awareness and prevention, especially for those working in the child welfare system. Recognizing the warning signs and knowing how to talk productively and thoughtfully with someone who may be suicidal could be lifesaving. Staying up to date on current resources and hotlines is another way to advocate for youth who are struggling with suicide-related events such as suicidal ideation or self-harm. Below are some helpful resources for you to review:

We owe it to all children, especially those served by the CASA community, to address this mental health crisis head-on and in order to do so, we must always strive to create a safe space for those around us. Reminding ourselves to listen, respect, empathize and uplift others is the first step in mitigating the devastating effects of suicide-related events. The month of September is recognized for suicide awareness and prevention, including September 10: World Suicide Prevention Day and September 10-16: Suicide Prevention Week. Another important day this month we can’t forget – September 13: Positive Thinking Day. In honor of this day, we encourage you to share positive thoughts to uplift those around you. The positivity you share could save a life.

Thank you for all that you do,