Let’s Talk About It

December 2, 2013

By Sampurna Basu

Youths are exposed to challenging circumstances every day. Every happy face has a story behind it, and sometimes that story is bad enough to drive someone to take his or her life.

Teen suicide, a subject some don’t like to breach, is a crippling problem when it comes to attempting to reverse the statistics. In our community, we are lucky enough to have access to a variety of great resources, like school administrators and TeenLink, to help students in need. But, frankly, teens are still reluctant to approach an adult or peer if they are struggling.

Sampurna Basu Skyline High School

Sampurna Basu
Skyline High School

The general attitude among teens is it is easier to ignore a problem than get involved in a serious ordeal if you suspect someone you know might be struggling. This is not helped by the fact that, according to the Healthy Youth Survey administered by the Issaquah School District, most students do not feel comfortable approaching a staff member at their school with personal problems.

Despite discouraging odds, and in light of the tragic student losses our community faced because of suicide last year, the district has developed a new helpline system for teens in need.

TalkAboutIt is a messaging system based on anonymity. Registering at LetsTAI.com allows students access to both the server’s email and texting service in order to report anything out of the ordinary.

If you suspect one of your peers needs help, or you yourself need someone to talk to, contact TalkAboutIt and an administrator at your school will receive your message. When administrators read these messages, they will not see your name. They will respond promptly within a 24-hour period with appropriate help.

But this brings up an obvious problem: Since no one knows who sent a certain message, how will this system really help in case of an emergency? Counselors do have the ability to pull up the name of a student based on the details of their TAI account. But they point out that TalkAboutIt is not a substitute for an immediate emergency help line.

So, the next time you hesitate to bring up a difficult subject because it can’t possibly apply to anyone in your life, remember suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. And each day in our nation, there is an average of 5,400 suicide attempts by students in grades seven through 12. But also remember that four out of five teens that attempt suicide give clear warning signs.

So, let’s TalkAboutIt! Register today!

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