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Az nonprofit's new program helps teenagers who’ve tried suicide

4 min read

Teen Lifeline,
an area nonprofit devoted to stopping teen suicide, has launched a
native initiative with a aim of lowering repeated suicide makes an attempt.

Modeled after the Caring Contacts program for adults, volunteer teen
peer counselors will attain out to teenagers who’ve been discharged from
the hospital following a suicide try with supportive cellphone calls,
texts, handwritten notes and care packages.

Caring Contacts is an intervention program used all through the U.S.
the place sufferers launched from the hospital after a suicide try are
despatched temporary expressions of care and concern from somebody who has
interacted with the affected person. The assist continues for a few yr.

Jennifer Connor, Caring Contacts’ native consumption specialist, stated in an
electronic mail that their very own research have have proven this system decreased
suicide deaths and decreased future hospitalizations amongst grownup

“We imagine this unimaginable program may have a equally optimistic
influence amongst Arizona’s teenagers as a result of it reaches high-risk sufferers that
don’t remain in therapeutic care,” she stated.

Connor stated the youth initiative is predicated on the assumption that teenagers are typically extra prepared to confide of their friends.

“It actually focuses on the connectedness and having that peer
connection,” she stated. “They’re able to relate to our peer volunteers
since they’re the identical age. Total, anybody reaching out for assistance is
very courageous and so they’re inspired to achieve out.”

Teen Lifeline expects to assist greater than 600 teenagers in Maricopa County
through the yearlong program underwritten by Mercy Care, the
not-for-profit well being plan that provides care for youngsters, adults and
seniors eligible for advantages from the Arizona Well being Care Price
Containment System. This system began in January.

All 83 skilled volunteer peer counselors are allowed to achieve out to members in Caring Contacts, Connor stated.

For youth sufferers, participation is non-compulsory. Dad and mom obtain a kind
to fill out within the hospital earlier than their teenage little one is discharged,
Connor stated. They will decide in to Caring Contacts by finishing the shape
and returning it to their nurse previous to the teenager’s hospital discharge.
The hospital then gives the affected person’s contact data to Teen

Peer volunteers don’t obtain particulars in regards to the suicide try.
Connor stated the volunteers attain out to sufferers inside 24 to 48 hours
of their discharge from the hospital to cut back emotions of isolation,
enhance connectedness and supply assets.

In Maricopa County, Aurora Behavioral Well being, Banner Well being and
Southwest Behavioral and Well being Providers have signed as much as refer teen
sufferers to Caring Contacts. Connor stated she expects extra
hospitals and behavioral well being companies to take part sooner or later.

Dani, a junior learning social work at Arizona State College,
began volunteering as a peer counselor throughout her senior yr in excessive
college after she misplaced a buddy to suicide. Dani’s final title has been
withheld to guard her anonymity as a peer counselor.

“I didn’t know what to do or methods to assist,” she stated. “I made a decision if I
began volunteering (at Teen Lifeline) I might be taught what to do and the way
to be extra useful within the state of affairs.”

Teen Lifeline volunteer peer counselors are between 15 and 18 years
outdated. All should endure a minimal of 72 hours of coaching the place they be taught
methods to talk and methods to be an efficient listener earlier than they
begin taking texts and calls.

“After volunteering, I realized that one of many largest issues that
you are able to do is to only be a listening ear and an individual that they know
they will flip to who will simply pay attention,” Dani stated, including that her
coaching has helped her deal with everybody with no judgment and to be there
for them, whether or not it’s in her private life or on the hotline.

Teen Lifeline began in 1986 as a hotline for teenagers contemplating
suicide, and volunteers have answered greater than 315,000 calls and texts
since its starting. In 2022, volunteer peer counselors answered extra
than 43,000 calls and texts from youngsters battling concepts of
suicide. It has expanded to supply life abilities coaching for volunteer and
prevention training in faculties.

The demand for companies like Teen Lifeline is rising. The
group obtained a 50% enhance in annual calls and texts for the reason that
starting of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In 2020, suicide was the second main explanation for loss of life
for Arizonans ages 10-24, based on the U.S. Facilities for Illness
Management and Prevention. The Arizona Division of Well being Providers
reported 694 deaths amongst 0-24 yr olds from 2020 to 2023.

In 2020, suicide was the tenth main general trigger
of loss of life in Arizona, with 1,363 licensed deaths attributed to suicide
for all ages. Arizona’s charge of suicide per 100,000 of inhabitants was
35% larger than that of the U.S.

Arizona youths coping with ideas of suicide, melancholy, bother
at college, fights with a big different, household points or who simply
want to speak, can name the Teen Lifeline hotline at 602-248-8336 (TEEN)
or 800-248-8336.

Peer counselors ages 15 to 18 reply the hotline from 3 to 9 p.m.
every day, together with holidays. Grownup counselors take over the remainder of the
time 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Teenagers can textual content the hotline from
midday to 9 p.m. weekdays and three to 9 p.m. weekends.

For added assist, dial 988 for the Suicide & Disaster Lifeline,
the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or the
native Disaster Response Community at 602-222-9444.

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