Letters to the Editor

Some signs of suicide

I read with great interest Jim Larsen’s column on August 10 entitled “Kids and their thoughts of suicide.” As a member of the North Whidbey Youth Coalition, a group of concerned citizens working to connect healthy youth with a safe community, I feel it is essential to provide the community with information on preventing youth suicide.

While I agree that young people may discuss suicide in general terms amongst themselves, one would not want to risk losing a youth to suicide because we assumed talk of suicide was of no concern. On their website, the Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP) lists the following warning signs that may indicate someone is thinking about suicide (http://yspp.org/aboutSuicide/warningSigns.htm):

* A previous suicide attempt.

* Current talk of suicide or making a plan.

* A strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death.

* Giving away prized possessions.

* Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal

Increased alcohol and/or other drug use.

* Hinting at not being around in the future, or saying goodbye.

It would be a grievous error for one to assume that a conversation about suicide doesn’t warrant attention. The YSPP website has a wealth of information for parents, schools, community members and educators.

According to a recent Seattle Times article, “each week an average of two young people between the ages of 10-24 commit suicide in Washington State.” Unfortunately, our community has not been immune to this; any death of a young person is too many.

Being a community that is informed, supportive and educated about suicide is not being alarmist, it shows that the North Whidbey community cares enough to take steps to prevent youth suicide. To find out how you can support youth in our community, contact the North Whidbey Youth Coalition at 279-5033 or attend our monthly meetings at the Oak Harbor School District building the last Wednesday of the month.

Lisa Yeager, coordinator

North Whidbey Youth Coalition

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