Suicide has become a growing concern in the Columbus community in recent years, increasing the need for assuring youths that there is hope for help and a benefit in living.
Community discussions have been used to address the issue, which have been helpful. The first was in 2015 after two Columbus East High School students died within a week just before the start of the 2015-16 school year. Their deaths were about 14 months after another Columbus student died by suicide.
That resulted in a well-attended session on suicide soon after at Columbus East. A year later, similar discussion about suicide awareness and prevention was in conducted in September at Columbus North High School.
Most recently, a musical drama was the latest tool used to reach teens about the issue of suicide. “Dead Serious … About Life,” presented Nov. 19 and 20 at Southside Elementary School, was a senior class project by Columbus North High School student Alex Janvier.
Suicide is an issue that requires an any-means-necessary approach to connect with teens who are struggling and might be contemplating taking their own life. If one approach doesn’t connect, hopefully another will.
Giving teens hope and resources is important because statistics demonstrate a need. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 34 in Indiana and the third-leading cause of death among ages 10 to 14, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
Suicide awareness and prevention efforts need to be a regular message heard by youths, parents and community stakeholders — whether that comes through presentations, discussions or musical dramas — as all lives are precious.