National Suicide Prevention Week

Matthew Hoskins

This week, September 8-14, is National Suicide Prevention Week, and Shawnee Mission West is doing a lot to educate our community on the issues involved. The main event of the week is a Mental Health Awareness Program on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Both parents and students are encouraged to attend. Presentations will include several experts in the field of mental health. Not only will they be discussing suicide, but also depression and anxiety. This evening is sponsored by the Tom Karlin Foundation and the Johnson County Mental Health Center.

Freshman will get to see their own presentation in seminar on Thursday. This will be led by Austin Chambers, Paige Henderson, and Joe Karlin. Their goal is to help students realize the gravity of this problem at our school. As counselor Dr. Leonard said, the week’s purpose is to, “draw attention to the fact that we’re losing students.”

In case you aren’t a Freshman, but still want to be informed on how serious this issue is, here are a few of the points that are going to be addressed on Thursday:

  • 19.3% of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves
  • 14.5% of high school students have made actual plans for committing suicide
  • About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths
  • Girls think about suicide about twice as much as boys, but boys are four times more likely to succeed
  • Suicide rates among youth (ages 15-24) have increased more than 200% in the last 50 years