The suicide rate among teens is climbing according to the Centers of Disease Control.
The latest figures suggest five out of every 100,000 girls committed suicide — a 40-year high — in 2015. Suicide is more prevalent in boys, as researchers state 14 per 100,000 choose suicide.
If those numbers don’t have the initial impact that they should, consider that since 2007, suicide among boys has increased by more than 30 percent, and doubled for girls — suggesting an alarming trend.
Or, we can also take a look at how quickly a community reacts. The CDC released its figures in early August, while most kids across the country were still enjoying summer vacation. Last week, Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited hosted a public forum at the Bethlehem Central High School. They welcomed three expert speakers, ranging from district counselors to the associate commissioner for the Division of Integrated Community Services for Children and Families. All to help parents talk to their kids. About 100 residents sat inside the school’s cafeteria, and another 75 tuned in through a Facebook Live broadcast.
BOU has hosted similar forums. Most recently was a gathering to discuss drug abuse in a world impacted by an ever increasing opioid epidemic. The subjects parents find difficult to bring up in conversation were brought out into the open to aid them. Those who attended did not fall back and subscribe to the belief, “my kid wouldn’t do that.”
“It goes without saying”
It’s a common phrase we often use to describe something that should be assumed; our love for family and kids, for example. Most parents of teenagers have observed that quick transition from gregarious and social pre-teen to reserved and independent teenager. How often do you see the bedroom door shut between you and your child? Of course, that is too often the case. Unfortunately, we do also leave too much for assumption. Perhaps nothing should go without saying.
The school district’s commitment to helping our children deal with their stress lives should be commended, as well. The school district’s head counselor presented a concerted plan to help students prepare for the next stage; from middle school to high school, and from high school to beyond. The notion that it truly takes a village to raise a kid is perhaps more true today than it was years ago.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.