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Join us tomorrow: A community conversation about mental health

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November 08, 2017
 
As part of the Newburyport Youth Council's continued "It's Our 20% Campaign", Newburyport Youth Services and Samaritans of Merrimack Valley will be holding a Suicide Prevention Community Discussion on November 9th at 7pm at the Rec Center (former Brown School) Gym.
 
This event, open  to the community, will give people an opportunity to ask questions about suicide prevention and mental health challenges. We will talk about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide as well as how to start a conversation with your children or anyone. We will also talk about how the community can come together to support each other and work to further reduce the incidence of suicide in the community. We will also provide attendees with numerous resources that are available to not only help prevent suicides but also provide support in the event of a suicide death. Like other issues, mental health is a community issue.  And we hope that the people of Newburyport will come and be a part of this important conversation.
 
This community conversation is designed to build off the suicide prevention work that Newburyport Youth Services has been doing since 2012.
The "It's our 20% Campaign" was designed and implemented by high school Youth Council members to better educate their peers on what depression looks and/or feels like and signs that a person may be thinking suicidal thoughts.   The 20% refers to the percentage of students who self-reported
feeling "sad or hopeless for two more weeks, to the point that it affected their regular activities" on the city's Youth Risk Behavior Survey.   This percentage has stayed relatively consistent for the past 10 years.
 
Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2015
CDCWISQARS)
Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2015 CDC WISQARS)
 
The Newburyport Public Schools also partnered on this campaign and rolled out the Signs of Suicide (SOS) training and screening for the middle and high school.  As part of the SOS program, all teachers and faculty were trained to recognize possible suicidal thoughts or red flags and given a protocol on how to report it.  School personnel were trained and have begun to implement a screening tool used to identify students suffering from depression.  They are currently screening three grades per year at the middle school and high school level.
 
This year the Youth Council will be continuing the campaign with new resources and more parent outreach.  This discussion is open to parents, mental health providers, clergy members, teens and any other community member who is interested.  We are hosting this event as the time change occurs, daylight is shortened and the holiday season begins; all of which are factors that lead to an increase in depression and suicide.
 
For more information, please contact Andrea Egmont at aegmont@cityofnewburyport.com.
 
Andrea Egmont, MS, CPRP
Director of Youth and Recreation Services Newburyport Youth Services
 
Office: 978-465-4434   X1351
NBPT Rec Center
40 Milk Street
Newburyport, MA
www.Newburyportyouthservices.com
 
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