This episode is a very important conversation about suicide, which might be painful and triggering for some listeners. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or are worried that someone you love might be suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. That is 1-800-273-TALK, or 8255. Help is available.
Suicide is a major public health issue, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Rates of death by suicide were already on the rise prior to the devastating mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the period between 1999 and 2019, deaths by suicide increased a tragic 35% in the United States. It still remains to be seen what effect the isolation, anxiety and loss that arose from the pandemic will have on the number of people taking their own lives, but expert predictions are grim.
Speaking specifically to children, the US Department of Health and Human Services found that in the last ten years, rates of major depression among teens have more than doubled. Hopelessness and suicidal thoughts have increased by 71%. Suicide rates among children have mirrored these changes, increasing by 56%. It is, as one researcher wrote, “an epidemic of anguish.”
In today’s podcast, Patricia speaks with Sal Pena and Courtney Cruz, from the Suicide Prevention Center at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. The Suicide Prevention Center was founded in 1958 as the nation’s first 24/7 suicide crisis line. It remains a model today for effective suicide crisis services, training professionals nationally and internationally in preventing suicide. They field roughly 100,000 crisis calls annually.
In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.
Please visit tgclb.org or text HOPE to 562-262-5689 to make a one-time donation or join our Hope and Healing Club to become a monthly donor today. And subscribe to In My Backyard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.