Number now appears on back of student IDs
Suicide prevention specialists at Teen Lifeline are reminding those who come in contact with teenagers it is a stressful time of year that comes with increased risks for suicide.
The reminder comes as the 24/7/365 nonprofit suicide prevention hotline prepares for the average 10 percent increase in calls that are answered each year following spring break.
“We know the time leading up to and after spring break can be especially stressful for teens,” Michelle Moorhead, Teen Lifeline executive director, states. “Stressors can be anything from midterm exams to a break from friends which can leave teens feeling overwhelmed and alone.”
“Connection to others, hope for the future, access to services, and basic coping and life skills all help reduce risk and ultimately prevent teen suicide,” she adds. “But it takes the entire community to help our most vulnerable teens. It is important to know the things that put your teen at risk as well as the things that will protect them from the risk of suicide.”
Experts at Teen Lifeline are asking parents, educators and community members for their assistance in reducing teen suicide by following the acronym SAFE.
S. Search the back of your teen’s school ID. If you have a child in middle school or high school, check the back of your student’s school ID to make sure it has the Teen Lifeline phone number. If you don’t see the hotline number listed, contact administrators at your child’s school now and ask to have it added. Encourage administrators to call Teen Lifeline to implement this lifesaving program.
A. Ask about thoughts of suicide. If you are concerned about your child, it is important to ask them about thoughts of suicide. It is a common misconception that you can give someone the idea of suicide, if you ask about it. Openly asking the question gives your teen permission to talk about their feelings, including the emotions, frustrations or challenges they are going through.
F. Form connections. Strong connections to family, friends and community support are a protective factor for teens. To help prevent teen suicide, form a stronger connection with a teen in your life today. For example, send a text to ask how their day is going, plan something fun to do together, eat dinner together or ask about how things are going in their life.
E. Encourage positive relationships. Many times, a teen’s friends help them feel supported and cared for. These friendships can come through school, sports teams, clubs, church groups and even social media. Encourage connections with peers and adults who are a positive influence in a teen’s life. Think twice before cutting off all contact with friends or social media, which can actually increase risk. Instead opt for allowing some connection to continue but limit the time or duration.
In 2018, Teen Lifeline received more than 23,000 calls and nearly 1,400 texts to its suicide prevention hotline. Most of those calls came from Arizona adolescents ranging in age from 10 to 19.
An average of one out of every three calls to the service is from a teen considering suicide. The vast majority of those calls were resolved with a plan for getting a caring adult involved. Most callers hung up feeling as though their problem was more manageable, increasing their hope for the future.
If you know a teenager who is struggling, suggest they reach out to the Teen Lifeline hotline at 602-248-TEEN (8336) or 800-248-TEEN. The service is staffed by teen peer counselors 3-9 p.m. every day of the year. Trained suicide prevention counselors staff the phones at all other hours.
Teens can also text with peer counselors at 602-248-8336 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily.
Concerned parents are encouraged to contact Teen Lifeline with questions related to their teen’s behavior, to discuss how to help their child or to find community resources for additional intervention.
Visit TeenLifeline.org for more information.
Glendale schools participating
•Apollo High School
•Copper Canyon High School
•Deer Valley High School
•Glendale High School
•Independence High School
•Ironwood High School
•Mountain Ridge High School
•Ombudsman Charter Metro•Canyon Elementary
Peoria schools participating
•Centennial High School
•Liberty High School
•Peoria Accelerated High School
•Raymond S. Kellis High School
•Sunrise Mountain High School
Surprise schools participating
•Shadow Ridge High School
•Valley Vista High School
•Willow Canyon High School
•Sundown Mountain Alternative Education Program
•Ashton Ranch Elementary
•Cimarron Springs Elementary
•Countryside Elementary •Kingswood Elementary
•Marley Park Elementary
•Rancho Gabriela Elementary
•Sonoran Heights Elementary
•Sunset Hills Elementary
•West Point Elementary
•Western Peaks Elementary