Elizabeth Adams

By

College: Medicine

Teens Give Encouraging Words, Facts About Youth Suicide During Awareness Event

Published: Feb 11, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2014) - Kentucky teens will exchange cards, flowers and chocolates with their sweethearts this week in a display of Valentine's Day bliss. But a staggering number of Kentucky's youth aren't feeling loved or appreciated - and many are dealing with thoughts of suicide.

 

During the annual Spread the Love-a-Thon suicide prevention event held on Feb. 9, local high school students sparked dialogue about youth suicide and mental health using tablets, cellphones and laptops. A group of about 20 students spent a couple hours at the Temple Adath Israel in Lexington sending out "Lifelines," or messages that contain at least two compliments and statistics about suicide in Kentucky, to friends and relatives. The event was sponsored by the University of Kentucky Division of Adolescent Medicine and affiliated nonprofit Stop Youth Suicide.

 

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in people ages 10-24 in Kentucky and the third-leading cause of death in this age group nationally. Twelve out of 15 regional medical centers in Kentucky report a youth suicide rate above the national average. Suicide kills more Kentucky youth than any congenital disease or asthma.

 

Henry Clay High School junior Henna Khan and her sister Zaynab, a freshman, checked off names on a list of friends they hoped to encourage through texts and social media messages during the Love-a-Thon. Henna was using the social media platform Instagram to send out many of her encouraging messages. 

 

"A lot of girls have problems with the way they look," Henna said. "I'm trying to tell them that they are beautiful. It's a real confidence booster." 

 

Dr. Hatim Omar, chief of UK's Division of Adolescent Medicine, believes positive messages are powerful tools to fight suicide in the teenage population. Whereas adults can take months or even years contemplating suicide, teenagers have more compulsive suicidal behaviors. Thirty percent of teens who commit suicide had no mental illness. Omar said this is why genuine encouragement and kindness has the ability to intervene when a teen has the idea of suicide.

 

"Basically teens kill themselves when they feel they are useless," said Omar. "So if you give them the feeling that they are better than that, many times it's a life-changer."

 

Omar reminds students that encouraging words must be genuine to have an effect on their peers. He also pleads with parents and mentoring adults to spend time with their teens and create a safe environment their kids to speak openly without the expectation of punishment.

 

Leslie Aslam, a medical student at UK who organized the Love-a-Thon, said in addition to starting conversations about suicide in Kentucky's teenage population, the high schoolers who participate leave with a good feeling.

 

"They are very surprised at how good it made them feel to make other people's days," Aslam said. "They expected other people to feel good, but they didn't expect it to happen to them."

 

For more information about Stop Youth Suicide, visit www.stopyouthsuicide.com

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu; (859) 940-8104

dsc05314.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 02
Internship Info Session 09/02/2014
Reset Page