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Cinco Ranch HS PTSA

Coping with Stress in High School and Beyond Program


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Teen Depression

I grew up in a family and society that believed that depression was a character flaw that was best not talked about. A time where telling someone to snap out of it was seen as the solution and when family members avoided ever having to talk about the cause of death of a relative that committed suicide or spoke of it in hushed voices.

In October of 2015, one of my daughter’s high school friends, both graduates from Cinco Ranch HS, took his life after succumbing to depression. It was with tremendous sadness that I accompanied my daughter to this young man’s memorial service. There are no words to describe the pain that he left behind with his passing not just for his family, but also his high school and college friends as well as his professors both in high school and college. After the funeral, I wondered how someone so talented and charming could have found it unbearable to continue living. I later learned that depression is a lot more common than I realized.

Some Facts on Depression and Suicide

  • According to the National Institute of Health, 1 in 5 teens suffer from depression at some point. [1]
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10–24 years in the United States and accounted for 5,178 deaths in this age group in 2012. [2]
  • Contrary to the conventional wisdom that people who are determined to end their lives will find a way to do so, 90 percent of people who survive suicide attempts do not eventually die by suicide. [3]
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. [4]
  • Data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that:
    • 1 out of every 16 high school students (6.3 percent) reported having attempted suicide at least once. This included 1 out of every 22 male students (4.6 percent) and 1 out of every 12 female students (8.1 percent).
    • 1 out of every 9 students (10.9 percent) had made a plan about how he or she would attempt suicide.
    • 1 out of every 7 students (13.8 percent) reported having seriously considered attempting suicide during the preceding 12 months. . [5]

Symptoms of Depression

  • Sad
  • Empty
  • Hopeless
  • Angry, cranky, or frustrated, even at minor things
  • You also may:
  • Not care about things or activities you used to enjoy.
  • Have weight loss when you are not dieting or weight gain from eating too much.
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleep much more than usual.
  • Move or talk more slowly.
  • Feel restless or have trouble sitting still.
  • Feel very tired or like you have no energy.
  • Feel worthless or very guilty.
  • Have trouble concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions.
  • Think about dying or suicide or try suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
free 24-hour help

Preventing Suicides and the Be Smart Campaign

According to the CDC, the majority of deaths among teenagers are caused by external causes of injury such as accidents, homicide, and suicide. These causes of death are, by definition, preventable. Suicide by firearms has become the method of choice; the number of individuals 15-24 that committed suicide in 2013 was 4,878; of these, 2,210 died by firearm. Unfortunately, it is also the most deadly. Even when doctors have become better at treating gunshot victims, about 85 percent of suicide attempts that involve guns are successful, compared with less than 3 percent of those involving drug overdoses. [6]

There are personal and environmental factors that can help reduce the risk of suicide. These factors include individual characteristics and behaviors, family and other social support, positive experiences at school and a safe school environment, mental health and health care and preventing access to means.

Last year, Everytown for Gun Safety launched its Be SMART campaign, which aims to educate the public about the importance of responsible gun storage and how gun owners and non-gun owners alike can help reduce child gun deaths by practicing and promoting responsible gun storage.

Did you know?

  • 1.7 million American children live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked.
  • A Harvard study found that more than two-thirds of kids know where their parents keep their guns — and many know even when the parents think they don’t.
  • Around 100 children 17 and under die each year in unintentional shootings.
  • Every year more than 400 children 17 and under die by suicide with a gun.
  • SMART adults can protect vulnerable kids by storing guns locked, unloaded and separately from ammunition, and taking steps to make sure children never get unauthorized access to unsecured guns.

BE SMART

Secure all guns in your home and vehicles

Model responsible behavior around guns

Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes

Recognize the risks of teen suicide

Tell your peers to be SMART

Other Facts that all parents should know

  • Far more people kill themselves with a firearm each year than are murdered with one.
  • In 2013, 21,175 people committed suicide with a firearm, while 11,208 died by homicide.
  • The rate of suicides by firearms among white males is 13.6 and 4.7 among blacks per 100,000 population.
  • The homicide rate from firearms is 2.8 for white males and 27.7 for black males among this same population. [7]
  • A gun in the home raises the suicide risk for everyone: gun owner, spouse and children alike. [8]

Given National PTA’s history of advocacy for the safety of children and youth, National PTA supports federal efforts to protect children and youth from gun violence. National PTA also advocates restricting access to guns from persons who may endanger public safety. [9]

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  1. "Recognizing Teen Depression." Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000648.htm.
  2. "Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10–24 Years — United States, 1994–2012." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6408a1.htm.
  3. "To Reduce Suicides, Keep the Guns Away." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/14/opinion/to-reduce-suicides-keep-the-guns-away.html?_r=0.
  4. "Save. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education." SAVE. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=705D5DF4-055B-F1EC-3F66462866FCB4E6
  5. Dhhs/samhsa, ed. "Preventing Suicide - A Tool Kit for High Schools." (2012): n. pag. SAMHSA. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Web. http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA12-4669/SMA12-4669.pdf.
  6. "Lethality of Suicide Method." Means Matter. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 11 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/case-fatality/.
  7. Hoyert, Donna L., Melonie P. Heron, Sherry L. Murphy, and Hsiang-Ching Kung. "Deaths: Final Data for 2003." PsycEXTRA Dataset (n.d.): n. pag. Centers for Disease Control. CDC. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf.
  8. Drexler, Madeleine. "Guns and Suicide:The Hidden Toll." Magazine Features. T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health, 2013. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine-features/guns-and-suicide-the-hidden-toll/
  9. "Position Statement – Gun Safety and Violence Prevention." National PTA. National PTA, 1999. Web. 11 Jan. 2016. http://www.pta.org/about/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3581