Boy Scouts, mental health agencies partner to prevent suicide

Press Staff Writer

        A new partnership between the Boy Scouts of America Erie Shores Council and local mental health agencies is aiming to educate youth and adults about suicide prevention.
        In conjunction with the Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, and Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, Erie Shores Council has developed a special achievement award to encourage Scouts and Scouters to learn the signs and symptoms of a person in crisis, and how to intervene appropriately.
        Youth suicide is an important issue facing children. The 2019 Lucas County Community Health Assessment found that 17% of Lucas County sixth-12th graders seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 10% did attempt suicide.
        Youths with risk factors such as substance abuse, depression and being a victim of bullying are more likely to express suicidal behavior. A 2022 study published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that although the pandemic increased rates of anxiety and depression among youth, increases in suicide attempts started well before that. According to that study, suicidal ingestions among youth ages 10-12 rose more than five-fold between 2010 and 2020.
        Though teens and young adults have the highest rates of suicide, talking about mental health and educating individuals about how to reach out to those who are struggling can help lower these rates. Protective factors such as family and peer connectedness, academic achievement, and affiliation with religious or social organizations have been associated with lower risks.
        Scott Sylak, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, said “Our community must continue to take action to improve youth mental wellness. This collaboration is an excellent example of what groups can do when they work together.”
        If you, a friend or loved one is having suicidal thoughts, call the Zepf Center’s Crisis Line at 419-904-2273, text “4hope” to 741741, or call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.


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