Pontiac, Michigan -- The Oakland County Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, a five-agency initiative supported by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, will unveil its Youth Suicide Prevention School Toolkit when it hosts a school forum Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Oakland Schools, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. The toolkit is a combination of best practices in suicide prevention from leading agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Action Alliance for Suicide.
“Preventing suicide is a major public health issue and an imperative for me and my administration,” Patterson said. “This toolkit will empower parents, staff, and community members to address youth suicide prevention.”
The forum, which runs 1-4 p.m., is for middle and high school staff members to engage in discussions about youth suicide prevention with professionals from the educational, behavioral, and public health sectors.
The task force is comprised of Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, Common Ground, Oakland Schools, and Easter Seals. Its mission is to change the public conversation about suicide and suicide prevention in support of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention released this fall.
“Our group broadly seeks to change the way the community thinks about and addresses suicide,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority. “Creating more awareness around suicide diminishes the stigma associated with obtaining mental health services and can reduce the number of people who suffer needlessly.”
More people die by suicide each year in the United States than by homicide. A person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes. It is the third leading cause of death among adolescents aged 15 - 24.
Knowing the risk factors, protective factors and warning signs can prevent suicide. They include a personal or family history of mental illness or substance abuse; personal or family history of suicide; feelings of isolation; recent loss; and family violence.
Some warning signs of suicide are:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Overeating or appetite loss
If you or someone you know is in crisis, do not leave the person alone and do not isolate yourself. Call your doctor, 911, or go to a hospital emergency room for immediate help, or ask someone to help you. You can also call the Common Ground Helpline at 800-231-1127.
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer, at (248) 858-1048.