Letter to the Editor

Katrina Mazier

Dear Editor,

It is reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that one teen died by suicide every six hours last year.

There are many factors that may contribute to teen suicide, which include bullying, sexual assault, home life, self-image and peer pressure. Every day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,470 attempted suicides by teenagers. Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. These shocking statistics make us question why our youth are struggling.

By talking about mental health and raising awareness in our communities, we can stop the stigma surrounding mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and suicide as a whole. As Miss Green Bay Area 2018, I see the problems that occur through mental illness up close in our teens. I have made it my responsibility to share my own story, resources and inspiration for those who are struggling. You can help too. Look for warning signs such as verbal threats of death, expressions of hopelessness and helplessness, previous attempts, risky behavior, increased or decreased appetite, personality changes, lack of interest in future plans or normal hobbies and excessive sadness. If you feel as though someone you know may be struggling, trust your instincts — reach out to someone trusted and get help. In addition, be sure to listen to them, remain with the person and seek professional help. The most important thing you can do is be there. Show love, compassion, support and a nonjudgmental attitude.

By educating ourselves, speaking out about the struggles associated with mental illness and knowing the warning signs and ways to help someone considering suicide, we can help decrease the negative outcomes. I think it’s time we change society’s view of mental illness and help those who are struggling, especially our teens. Our teens are our tomorrow and our future, let’s remind them there is hope, there are resources available and there is no shame in reaching out. I’ve started a ripple — will you help me keep it going?