Oakland County, Michigan -- The Oakland County Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force is heightening awareness about Oakland County’s youth suicide prevention efforts during National Mental Health Awareness Month this May, including making the Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit available to schools. New public service announcements and a mass education campaign that targets suicide prevention will debut this summer.
"Suicide can be prevented by watching out for the risk factors and taking action," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "By raising public awareness, these six outstanding Oakland County agencies which comprise the task force are encouraging our kids to seek help as soon as warning signs emerge."
Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, Common Ground, Easter Seals, Oakland Schools, and Training and Treatment Innovations have joined forces to implement a prevention plan that addresses youth suicide, mental illness and substance abuse in the region. Over the past year, Oakland County school districts and local private schools were trained and are implementing strategies outlined in the collaborative Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Schools. Suicide prevention toolkits for parents, students and health care providers are currently under development.
"Our goal is to encourage our youth to ask for help by decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health or substance abuse issues," said Brent Wirth, president & CEO of Easter Seals. "Substance abuse and mental illness can lead to thoughts of suicide. If you need help, talk to an adult you trust or call Common Ground’s 24-hour crisis line."
The phone number for the Common Ground Helpline is 800-231-1127.
More people die by suicide each year in the United States than by homicide. One person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes. It is the third leading cause of death among adolescents ages 15 to 24. While males are more likely to die by suicide, females are more likely to attempt suicide.
Knowing the risk factors may help 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, go to a hospital emergency room for immediate help, or ask someone to help you. Again, the Common Ground Helpline is available at 800-231-1127.
For more information, go to Oakland County Health Division online at oakgov.com/health and click on the "Youth Suicide Prevention" link.
Common Ground - commongroundhelps.org
Oakland County Community Mental Health - occmha.org
Easter Seals - mi.easterseals.com
Suicide Prevention Resource Center - sprc.org
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - samhsa.gov
National Alliance on Mental Illness - nami.org
For media inquiries only, contact George Miller, director of Oakland County Department of Health & Human Services, at 248-858-1293.