I am a father of two young adults. I am a clinical social worker and addiction counselor. I am tired and saddened by the number of young adult funerals I have attended. Suicide is reported to be the second leading cause of death among young adults (ages 14-25). These statistics have names of young people that I personally know. And, I know the ones left behind.
When it is announced that a young adult dies, everyone stops. There is shock. There are screams. Silence. Tears. Questions. There are vows that this should not have happened and will never happen again. But, after the funeral and after a couple of days or weeks, for the majority of people, life moves on. Not for those certain ones. Maybe family. Maybe friends. But for almost everyone silence happens. It stops getting talked about. We don’t know what to say. More importantly, we don’t talk about what drove the person to the point of taking their own life. And because we don’t talk about it, we just wait. And then it happens again. The outrage begins again. Young adults don’t die from suicide. Suicide may have been the means in which they died. But the reasons vary and are complex: Depression. Addiction. Despair. Powerlessness.
I decided it was time to do something. I have gathered a group of individuals who want to make difference. We brought together what we have been doing independently. We want to Shatter Our Silence. We want to raise awareness about suicide. We want to share resources. We want to provide hope. We want to break the stigma and the fear. We want to give voice to the silence.
One of the services we are offering is on awareness and educational trainings for students and professionals. Specifically, for the professionals, we focus on the prevalence of young adult suicide, the warnings sign, and indicators leading to suicide as well as tools and actions steps to identify at-risk young adults and how to intervene.
For the students, a similar program is available on prevalence, risk factors and what a student can do if they are at-risk or if a friend is at-risk. These programs are engaging using multi-media teaching techniques along with interactive presentation style. Information in the presentation is evidence-based and is relevant and current.
If you have a question or would like to reserve a time for an SOS presentation please call…
Kevin Polky, CADC, LCSW
Founder and Executive Director of SOS