Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages10-24, making up 19.2% of all deaths among young people in 2017?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates for people aged 10 to 24 increased by 56 percent between 2007 and 2017. Young people experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts often feel isolated and alone, but also usually are crying out for help. With the world of social media moving at a faster pace than ever, here are some ways adults can stay on top of some of the digital cries for help teens in their life might be expressing. What can we be doing to prevent it?

It is important as educators, parents, and friends to encourage and promote inclusive and empowering conversations surrounding mental health. However, sometimes teens still aren’t comfortable speaking with us.

One thing we can do to stay on top of the current lingo and trends that teens are following. It has recently been publicized that many teens are taking to the popular social media forum, Tik Tok to send out coded cries for help.

The two secret messages that are really expressing feelings of desperation, depression or contemplation of suicide include:

I told someone my favorite/best pasta recipe!

I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time.

On the bright side, these cries for help are receiving responses from friends and strangers alike sharing kind words and giving them reasons to live.

Watching our kids, students, and peers social media accounts may help us find ways we can start a dialogue to express concern. There are even apps and technologies that may be able to help. How great is it that there are resources available to stop tragedies with real-time monitoring and warnings?

How can adults help?

At Erika’s Lighthouse, we offer many great resources for approaching challenging conversations. We recommend signing up for a free portal account where you will have incredible information right at your fingertips including:

  • Lesson plans for educators and school counselors to teach mental health awareness to middle school and high school students
  • Warning signs and symptoms
  • A parent handbook
  • Intervention language
  • Depression discussion guides and much, much more.

Erika’s Lighthouse depression education programming is uniquely qualified to assist in meeting not only suicide prevention recommendations but go beyond suicide prevention to embrace school mental health.

Educators and social workers, now, more than ever we need to be vigilant in our efforts to help teens suffering from isolation, loneliness, and depression. Erika’s Lighthouse supports educators in their efforts to educate students about depression and mental health and to work closely with existing school mental health initiatives and coordinators. We understand the close link between suicide and mental illness and the effective implementation of depression education inextricably links these issues. We know you are overwhelmed with all of the other demands and your job and we have created a turnkey solution just for you.

Author: Lisa Honcharuk, Marketing and Engagement Manager