I recently read some survey results provided by the Snohomish Health District about the health habits of sixth, eighth, tenth, and 12th-grade students in Snohomish County. Use of alcohol and marijuana is still very prevalent; bullying is definitely an issue for our youth and statistically one-fifth of tenth graders reported they considered suicide in the past year.
On Sept. 24, 2009 my husband and I received the phone call in the middle of the night that every parent fears: the call from someone telling you your child has died. Our 22-year-old daughter Jessica had taken her own life.
My daughter didn’t have a history of depression, didn’t drink or do drugs, and was never bullied or mistreated by family or friends. She was a very high achiever and had just graduated with honors from WSU. But just when she started a master’s program at the U. of W. a storm of negative feelings and extreme anxiety overcame her in a very short period. She spiraled into a state of extreme panic and she was not capable of pulling herself out from it. We couldn’t comprehend how this horrific tragedy could have happened. We have since learned that suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth between the ages of 19-24 and that a suicidal state can come on quickly and suicidal actions can be impulsive.
At upcoming free forums information will be presented about risk factors that may lead to suicide. If you have children or interact with youth in your life, please consider attending these forums in May where talented speakers will educate our community about the following topics at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd. from 7:00-830 p.m.:
- Abuse of Alcohol, Street and Prescription Drugs — Wed., May 11.
- Bullying and Violence – Its Forms and Effects — Thurs., May 12.
- Self-Esteem – Depression – Anxiety Attacks – Expectations — Wed., May 25.
- Abusive or Violent Relationships: Dating, Family, or Friends — Thurs., May 26.
Childcare will be available for children ages 3-12.
I encourage you to educate yourself about our youth’s emotional, physical, and psychological health. I would not have thought any of these forum topics applied to my child or family just as you might not think any of these topics apply to your child. That may or may not be true, but what about all the other youth you may also interface with in our community? Come to these forums and find information and resources applicable to helping youth in our communities.