September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. One of JFS’ long-standing programs is Teen Life Counts (TLC), a youth suicide prevention curriculum that brings vital education about the issue to schools in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Charles, and St. Bernard parishes. The program is designed to provide students with education, resources, and skills to help prevent suicide in their communities. It’s particularly important for us to bring this information to students that range in age from 7th-12th grades, as suicide is the second leading cause of death for people in their age group.
Suicide is a topic that can be incredibly difficult to talk about openly due to the stigma attached and the depth of pain that usually surrounds someone considering the act. However, research shows that encouraging someone in pain to speak about their thoughts of suicide openly and honestly is one of the best ways to provide support. Ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away, right? Helping connect students with the resources they need to live the lives they want is what TLC is all about.
When we teach TLC in schools, we emphasize a few key points that we want students to take away:
- Everyone struggles sometimes.
- Asking for help is not only okay, it’s brave.
- There are many people who care about getting you the help you need.
- There are a lot of helpful resources available to you, and we can connect you to them.
According to the CDC’s 2019 data, there are approximately 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide. This provides all of us with a wide zone of intervention to bring support and skills to people who are struggling with suicidal ideation before they act. TLC is one way we can make sure to support the students that will make our communities better and brighter with their ideas, hopes, and dreams.
If you are interested in applying to be a volunteer educator with TLC, or if you’d like to explore bringing the program to your school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.