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As a community we need to learn about the prevention of self harm and suicide. Adolescence is a time of major change. The journey from child to adult can be complex and challenging. Young people often feel tremendous pressure to succeed at school, at home and in social groups. At the same time, they may lack the life experience that lets them know that difficult situations will not last forever. Mental health problems commonly associated with adults, such as depression, also affect young people. Any one of these factors, or a combination, may become such a source of pain that they seek relief in suicide.

We need to be involved and learn the signs. In cases we can’t always change a set mind, but we can help and hopefully save many others.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people after motor vehicle accidents. Yet people are often reluctant to discuss it. This is partly due to the stigma, guilt or shame that surrounds suicide. People are often uncomfortable discussing it. Unfortunately, this tradition of silence perpetuates harmful myths and attitudes. It can also prevent people from talking openly about the pain they feel or the help they need.

Communication is the first essential step in assisting youths at risk of suicide. Learning the facts about suicide can help build a parent’s confidence in discussing a difficult subject.