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As Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month came to a close at the end of September, Reno Dads hosted a conversation with some Nevadans who are raising awareness about teen and youth suicide and working with local resources to help teens and their loved ones find information and learn how to talk to each other about mental health. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to have a listen.
Suicide Prevention / Mental Health Awareness Month
Reno Dads has actually covered the intersection of mental health and men in the past, interviewing Clint Malarchuk (former NHL hockey player) and Chris Malenab (Reno 1868 FC assistant coach) who both survived suicide attempts. In this episode, we’re taking a look at a campaign launched here in Nevada aimed at reducing teen and youth suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in the 8-24 year old age group. September has been designated as Suicide Prevention Month, and the team at Nevada Medical Center’s “Hope Means Nevada” has organized a campaign to raise awareness about this issue and to help teens and their families find the information they need to help reduce the number of teen and youth suicides in Nevada.
Where to Find Information
Nevada Medical Center launched a program in Nevada called “Hope Means Nevada” in 2020 and has been creating content and social media campaigns to reach teens where they are — on their devices — with content aimed at providing more uplifting messages. Ciera Bellavance is the Executive Director of Hope Means Nevada and she explained the background of the program and why it was created. The directors of NMC recognized a need to try to pull together different resources that were available, but not widely known, that could be helpful for teens and their families. Things like contact information for crisis hotlines, signs to recognize when someone might be considering self-harm, and other important info. They’ve collected it and created a “one-stop” website for Nevadans to find it on mentalhealthresourcesnv.org
Dr. Sheldon Jacobs and Dr. Steve Evans also provided great insight regarding the causes and indicators of mental health crises in teens that might lead someone to consider suicide. We discussed a common misconception that talking about suicide somehow encourages an individual to attempt it. The bottom line is that it’s more important than ever that parents, especially dads, stay connected with their kids through their middle school and high school years so they can notice the signs of when someone might be entering into a period of mental health trouble. The way to recognize the signs is to first learn what they are, and then to be involved in your teen’s life to see how they’re handling the stress of being a teenager.
A Teen’s Perspective
Having the perspective of a teenager on the podcast was something new for Reno Dads, and we were glad to have Shane Taylor join us to do just that. He said he personally knows two young people who have attempted suicide, and that he wanted to get involved with Hope Means Nevada so that he could help get the word out about where to find help in times of crisis. He described seeing a lot of flyers and info in his middle school and said that he really appreciates when his parents check in with him not only on what’s happening in school, but also on how he’s feeling. So there you have it, right from the source, dads: asking your kids questions is not as annoying to your kids as you might think.
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