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Understanding Youth Mental Health and Teen Suicide

Multiple studies show an increase in suicide among people ages 10 to 24. With the added challenges and uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is feared the stressors may be exasperated. To help families struggling with these challenges, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) joined to create a guide for parents, “Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms.”

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Sponsored by the NSSF AND Project ChildSafe

Understanding Youth Mental Health

Available on the Project ChildSafe website, a downloadable guide offers many different resources for parents concerned about their child’s risk of suicide. It includes information on mental health, how to recognize if a child needs help and what to do if warning signs for suicide are present. 

The online guide is broken down in to 3 sections or steps: 

1. Identify the warning signs that indicate a child may be struggling with mental health and/or having suicidal thoughts.

2. Understand how to respond (versus react) to these warning signs.

3. Create a safe home environment that prevents access to lethal means. 

Understanding Youth Mental Health and Teen Suicide

When a person is thought to be potentially suicidal, removing or reducing access to lethal means may possibly stop a tragedy. This guide suggests different ways to secure or store these items, which include, but are not limited to the following things: firearms, prescription or illicit drugs, alcohol, chemicals and weapons – including knives, dangerous tools or even, the family car.

Understanding Youth Mental Health and Teen Suicide

Companion Piece for Peers

Another section of the website, “Being There for Your Friends: A Guide to Helping Prevent Suicide,” contains a peer guide. It includes warning signs to watch for and what to do, along with additional resources. These resources all are downloadable as PDFS. 

Find more information about “Understanding Youth Mental Health and Preventing Unauthorized Access to Firearms” here.

If you are in crisis please look into these resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK(8255) 

Lifeline Chat: SUICIDEPREVENTIONLIFELINE.ORG/CHAT

Crisis Text Line: Text “TALK” to 741741

Emergency Response: Call 911

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, is the managing and social media editor at The WON. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group, LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers.

     

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