“It’s tough. It’s a tough subject.”
The subject Jake Young was talking about is teen suicide. For the second straight year, Culver Military Academy first classmen are working to bring the subject front and center to other students on campus.
Young (Plymouth, Ind.) and Ryan Hallenbeck (Indianapolis) have been reminding people about teen suicide prevention. In September, which is suicide awareness month, the football team carried purple and turquoise flags out on to the field at the home game against Western. During lunch earlier this month, Young and Hallenbeck handied out purple and turquoise ribbons for people to wear.
For Young, it’s personal. A friend from Plymouth took his own life in 2015.
“Teens don’t want to talk about how they feel,” he said. “For some reason or another, they think they are the only one feeling like that. We want them to know that there people that care about them. That they have outs.”
According to the statistics Young and Hallenbeck cited the teen suicide problem is especially troubling in Indiana:
- 19 percent of Indiana high school students report they seriously considered suicide.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds.
- Indiana has the second highest teen suicide rate in America.
The free ribbons are intended to make overall community aware of the teen suicide problem and remind those who may need assistance that help is readily available. Culver provides many opportunities to seek help through outlets, Hallenbeck said in a message to students, such as adults on campus and the health center’s support team.
Also, if any student has a concern for a friend, they should encourage them to seek assistance. If the student doesn’t seek help and continues to struggle, confide in one of the professionals on campus. The identity of the concerned student will remain confidential.
“We want to give you the opportunity to help, so our community can remain the welcoming environment it already is,” Hallenbeck wrote. “Together, we can make this campus a better place.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or text HELPNOW to 20121.