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Lions learn about teen suicide

Rich Cameron, of Hickory Trail Hospital, spoke to the Ennis Noon Lions Club this week, warning of the alarming spread and warning signs of youth suicide.
The Jason Foundation is named after Jason Flatt, who was found dead in his room after shooting himself on July 16, 1997 at the age of 16. The organization, founded in October 1997 by Jason’s father, is an effort to fight the epidemic of youth suicide.
Cameron said the foundation provides staff development training seminars and parent seminars designed to build an understanding of the problem.
Youth suicide – also known as “the silent epidemic” because no one wants to admit the problem exists – claims the lives of more than 100 young people each week, which Cameron said is probably a low estimate, since some car accidents and other deaths are wrongly classified.
Suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24 and fourth for ages 10-14. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college-age youth. According to the Jason Foundation, four out of five young people who attempt suicide have given clear warnings. Cameron told club members the number of youth suicide cases has tripled in the last four decades.
“In 80 percent of suicide attempts we have an opportunity to recognize the warning signs and intervene,” Cameron said.
Cameron said signs for concern in youth include depression, abrupt changes in behavior, mood swings, crying spells, recent grief or losses, changes in school performance, giving away treasured belongings, making rounds to visit friends to set things right and say good-bye, suicidal threats and hopelessness. Other warning signs include withdrawing from others, violent behavior, alcohol or drug abuse and self-mutilation.
The Jason Foundation is located in Hendersonville, Tenn., where its main mission is to educate teachers, youth workers, parents and students in the awareness and prevention of the “silent epidemic.”
“If you recognize signs of possible suicide in someone you love, obviously you want to get them some help and that is where the hospital comes in,” Cameron said.
Hickory Trails Hospital is a center for mental health and chemical dependency care located in Desoto. It provides a full spectrum of mental care including inpatient crisis stabilization, a partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient support, family support and discharge planning. The hospital is a place where adults who experience psychiatric problems can be in a safe, caring and therapeutic environment.
Regarding youth services, the hospital has a team of child and adolescent specialists who focus on understanding the unique needs of youth.
“Hickory Trails Hospital is about intervention,” Cameron said. “The Jason Foundation is about prevention.”
More information about the Jason Foundation can be found at www.jasonfoundation.com. The website provides parental resource programs, links to websites that offer more information and assistance, in-service training and a resource line to find out what is available.
Prior to Cameron’s program, Heather Laws was inducted as a new member. Carol Spellman sponsored Laws’ membership.
Past President Kevin Six received a commemorative photo album chronicling his term as the leader of the Ennis Noon Lions Club.
The Ennis Noon Lions Club meets Wednesday at noon at the Ennis Country Club.

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Posted by on Sep 19 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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