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A Conversation Addressing Youth Suicide

Lidia Harding
Blog Events For parents

October 22, YES CEO David W. Downing and special guest Kevin Hines, suicide-survivor, best-selling author, filmmaker, and mental health advocate, invited our community to join an online conversation addressing youth suicide. We’re grateful to all of you who participated in this conversation!

During the event, David and Kevin took questions from attendees, and below we’ve included a few of these questions and answers. We hope you find these educational and valuable:

Before your suicide attempt at the age of 19, how could have the people around you responded better?

At the time, I didn’t have the vernacular to describe what was happening to me, but my parents also didn’t have the tools to start that conversation. I believe every parent should be taught how to have these conversations with their kids and to have them regularly. Instead of judging their behavior, dig deep into their pain, and understand how you can be there for your children.

Why is there a rise in suicidality?

What’s leading this rise in suicide deaths is a complex multitude of things. Partially it’s due to our current competitive culture and setting unrealistic expectations. Teens are thinking if I don’t get these “likes,” if I don’t get into a good college, if I don’t make this athletic team, it means that I am not worthy.

What are the symptoms of suicide?

Increasingly we are seeing instances of suicide where there haven’t been any of the typical signs. It is scary. It is devastating. So let’s be proactive instead of reactive. Let’s give students and teens the tools they need to find the self-awareness to know when and how to reach out for help.

How do you start a conversation with your child about suicide or mental health?

Watch Kevin answer this question in a short video clip.

What do you do if you have a teen who refuses help?

Inspired by the caring letters experiment by psychiatrist Jerry Motto, I suggest having 3-5 people send caring letters to the person who is suffering recognizing the signs they are seeing in a non-judgmental, empathic and loving way. It will help the person suffering recognize the symptoms in themselves.


You can take action today with these resources!

These resources can also be found at

Educational community programs such as this critical conversation addressing youth suicide are made possible by generous donations from supporters like you. Please consider making a donation to YES today to support children and youth struggling with suicidal thoughts.


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