Students from across the Southwest Valley are invited to join more than 3,000 students from across the state for the first virtual Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life Conference in January to discuss lasting ways to combat bullying, depression and suicide at their schools.
Now in its fifth year, the conference will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 19, 2021. Attendance is free, thanks to partnerships and donations, and is open to all schools in Arizona.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is a serious public health problem among all age groups. Among youth it exacts an enormous toll because of the significant years of potential life lost, according to a release from the organization.
In 2017, there were more than 6,200 suicide deaths among adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 24, making it the second leading cause of death for that age group.
Youth suicidal ideation, attempt and completion are on the rise. Far more adolescents have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide and survive than those who die by suicide, the release states.
Results from the 2019 Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show that during the past year, 19% of high school students seriously considered attempting suicide and 9% attempted suicide.
The conference will offer students a chance to hear from local and national speakers who will address hope, resilience, self-compassion, empathy and the power within us all to care enough to speak up, stand up and save a life.
Another highlight of the conference will be the presentations of the Difference Maker Awards to a student, law enforcement official and teacher.
“Teen suicide is preventable, according to the CDC. Prevention efforts should be aimed at all levels of influence: Individual, relationship, community and societal,” Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, Pendergast Elementary School District superintendent and Gina Godbehere, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office bureau chief said in a joint statement. “Suicide rates for at-risk youth can be substantially reduced by knowing the signs, intervening and improving access to resources. All of these will be addressed at the conference.”
The conference is for students in grades K-12, adults and volunteers. There will be breakout sessions for each age group, along with sessions available for teachers, staff and parents alongside law enforcement members and government leaders to learn how to become trusted adults ready to respond to students in crisis.
For more information or to register, visit speakstandsave.com.