Effective Youth Suicide Prevention: Evidence from Kentucky (pp. 169-186)
Authors: (Dessi Slavova and Hatim Omar, Division of Adolescent Medicine and Young Parent programs, Kentucky Clinic, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America)
Abstract: While a lot is left to be done in order to minimize the suicide attempts and suicides of
Kentucky‘s adolescents, the work of Stop Youth Suicide Campaign (SYS) and the
comprehensive grassroots‘ approach is showing signs of success in the state of Kentucky.
The 2013 nation Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows that for the 1st time,
indicators of youth suicide in the state are at or below the national average while they
were always above that before. In the three rural counties where the school systems have
partnered with SYS and the Division of Adolescent Medicine in Lexington there is an
actual absence of completed suicides compared to the average of 3 per year prior to this
partnership. In order to maintain and improve that, we must ensure that students do not
have easy access to weapons, guns, and drugs by ensuring that these are properly stored
in homes where children are present. Kentucky‘s educators must continue to develop
ways to provide safe and supportive school environments. Physicians, teachers, parents,
and students all must be able to recognize an adolescent at suicidal risk, be able to ask
difficult questions about suicide, and have a variety of resources to seek help or offer
support. Open dialogue and sharing stories about suicide can help spread awareness
throughout the Kentucky community.
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