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Indiana: 1 in 5 h.s. students seriously considers suicide; "there are no easy answers"

Jan 7, 2018, Fort Wayne Journal—Gazette: Become an advocate for hope—By knowing warning signs, you can help reduce rate of teenage suicide http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/20180107/become-an-advocate-for-hope One in five Indiana high school students has seriously considered attempting suicide, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT in Indiana Data Book. Locally, our stats are higher. Girls are twice as likely to consider suicide than boys, and are more likely to make a plan and more likely to attempt and need medical attention. So, why? There are no easy answers. Some of the reasons include health factors, particularly untreated or undiagnosed mental health issues. Depression is the most common cause of suicide-related behavior. These are kids who feel sad or hopeless for two weeks or more. The national rate is 29.9 percent. There is a pretty big disparity between Indiana girls and boys. Girls report feeling sad and hopeless for an extended period of time at a rate of 39.2 percent. That is 10 percent higher than the national rate. Boys report 19.8 percent, 10 percent lower. It averages out close to the national rate, but there is a big disparity between our boys and our girls. According to 10,376 students polled in the Get Schooled Tour, 64 percent of the students said they sometimes feel depressed (36 percent), have felt depressed more than average (15 percent) or feel very depressed (13 percent). What is going on? It is complicated: Family history of depression and suicide attempts. Bullying. Teen dating relationships. Substance abuse (student or parent). Sexual abuse. Family stress: financial stress, unemployment, divorce. Anxiety over academic performance and preparing for the future. A sense of being overwhelmed by academic requirements and high-stakes career planning, not to mention part-time jobs, keeping up with everyday household tasks and fitting in social activities. As one youth put it, “You have no clue how hard it is to be a kid.”