Seminar Will Tackle Suicide

Warren General Hospital Deerfield Behavioral Health, the Warren County YMCA and Clarion Psychiatric Center have partnered to present a Jason Foundation Parent and Community Seminar at the Y on Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that help equip young people, educators, parents, and people who work with youth with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youths. There will also be a Jason Foundation Seminar for healthcare professionals at noon on the same day in conference room A at Warren General Hospital. Attendees for the WGH seminar should bring their own lunch, and a dessert will be provided.

Corey Peterson, a community relations representative from Clarion Psychiatric Center in Clarion, Pennsylvania will present the program. The Center is a member of Universal Health Services, one of the largest hospital management companies in the United States and is a clinical partner for JFI.

According to the Foundation, suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, the second leading cause for college age youth, and each week over 100 young people kill themselves. Almost one in six youths seriously considered suicide in the last twelve months, and four out of five who have attempted it have given clear warning signs such as depression, which is the number one cause for college students.

Debbie Labesky of WGH Behavioral Health said all middle and high schools in the Warren County School District have a core team of teachers and staff to provide for students that might be at risk, and anyone can refer someone who they believe might be considering suicide. The Student Assistance Program teams, administered by Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems identify students who are struggling with issues that impact their success at school. When a student could use more support than SAP offers, a referral is made to the School Based Counselor. The SAP team will contact parents to get permission for students to be seen by the counselor.

Warning signs include suicide threats, depression, anger, lack of interest in activities, sudden changes in appearance, previous attempts, final arrangements, a sudden increase or decrease in appetite, dwindling academic performance, a sudden failure to complete assignments, a preoccupation with death and suicide, and an “I don’t care” attitude about school and other activities.

Other national affiliates with JFI are The American Football Coaches Association, helping build awareness about youth suicide; and Wal-Mart who provides funding and awareness support.

A national helpline is staffed by clinical specialists 24/7 to assist callers in finding local resources or provide more information about JFI can be reached at 1-877-778-2275. A national crisis line for emergencies is 1-800-Suicide (784-2433). For more information online about JFI and its programs, go to jasonfoundation.com.

The JFI is named for Jason Flatt, a 16-year-old who committed suicide in 1997.