Beat Project: Teen Suicide

PREVALENCE OF TEEN SUICIDE WITHIN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

What is the project?

In the Convergence Journalism course, we were assigned a project where we had to focus upon a topic of choice and do research alongside a few of our peers. Alyssa Steele, Tyler Martoia, and I (Ally Fuchs) chose to research the topic of Teen Suicide. After our first meeting together we decide to focus our question to: Why is teen suicide so prevalent among high school students?

Meeting with Dennis Liegghio

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Samantha Polonis shows off her KnowResolve T-shirt on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. KnowResolve hosted a 5k to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

After a bit of rearch we came across a local “youth suicide awareness and prevention” website called, KnowResolve. This website offers an outstanding amount of information on suicide awareness and how to prevent it. There are multiple presentations, upcoming events and tools to help you get involved with suicide prevention.

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Dennis Liegghio talks to us about his company on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. He shared a lot of information about suicide and his story.

The founder of KnowResolve is Dennis Liegghio, who we had the privilege of interviewing for our project.Liegghio offered an amazing amount of insightful information for our research. Liegghio informed us that suicide is, “the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds… [and] according to the CDC, 1 in 7 high school students seriously contemplate suicide in any given year.” He continued by saying, “There’s a lot of kids that are struggling in silence and are either not talking about it or are just talking about it to their friends and not getting the help that they need.”

One of his most impactful lines during the interview was his definition on suicide: “Suicide is a behavior or a coping skill that starts really really early in life and it starts as escape… it’s not really about death, it’s about escape.”

He even drew us graphs and wrote out statistics about teen suicide, where we created our own infographics. His first chart offers information on how to spread suicide awareness and prevention:

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Here is the chart he offered that lists signs and feelings towards suicidal thoughts and what to watch for:

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Most importantly, Liegghio created a chart that helps people maintain a healthy mind and a healthy lifestyle to prevent depression or suicidal thoughts:

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Liegghio also offers multiple presentations throughout the year where he spreads awareness of teen suicide and prevention methods. He has also written a song about his experiences with suicide, click here for a video of one of his presentations.

Interviewing the Resolved Youth Group

Our group also met with a few high school students a part of the Resolved youth group of Five Points Community Church. We filmed the students as they responded to a few questions about teen suicide within their community. Each of these students offered information how their schools help prevent teen suicide, why they believe this is prevalent within their age group and how they can help spread prevention awareness.

What We’ve Learned After Our Research

You can never fully answer the question: Why is teen suicide so prevalent among high school students? But after our research we have found that, there are ways to help spread awareness, try to watch for signs of depression or suicidal thoughts, and try to offer help and support to those suffering.

A few Suicide Prevention websites:

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