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Keeping lives healthy for a long time!

One life lost is too many

Nationally, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 10-18 years old. In 2014, more than 1.1 million youth under age 18 attempted suicide in the United States. In Washington State, 27% of 10th graders in 2018 stated they had considered attempting suicide.

Death certificate data showed suicides among Pierce County residents ages 10 to 19:

  • 10 in 2015
  • 11 in 2016
  • 9 in 2017

Pierce County is home to more than 105,000 youth in that age range.

But even one death is too many. Our youth—with their whole lives ahead of them—should be hopeful, not hopeless.

Five children standing together in a park smiling

Why are youth feeling sad?

According to the 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, among Pierce County 10th graders:

  • 27% reported considered attempting suicide in the past year.
  • 22% stated they had made a suicide plan.
  • 13% stated they attempted suicide in the past year.  
  • 66% reported that they felt nervous or anxious in the past two weeks.  

Mental health is an important aspect of a person’s overall health. People with strong mental health have emotional well-being and skills to:

  • Navigate the complexities of life.
  • Develop positive relationships.
  • Adapt to change.
  • Understand how to meet their own  needs.

Protective and risk factors contribute to mental health. Youth with mental health illnesses may face challenges in their homes, school, community, and interpersonal relationships. But for most youth, mental health distress is not permanent, and most can successfully navigate the challenges that come from experiencing a mental health challenges. Professional support and services and a strong family and social support network help youth build and sustain the emotional resilience that is the foundation of strong mental health. Helping youth prevent or minimize mental health problems means hope for the future.

Message of hope and recovery

When people experience stigma related to mental health concerns, they can become lonely, isolated and hopeless. And that’s dangerous. People need to feel confident asking for help so they can get the services they need when they need them.

Everyone deserves to have good emotional health. And recovery from a mental health concern or challenge can happen for everyone. It takes hope and supportive systems like schools, family, friends and community. 

How to advocate for positive mental health

If you need  help or have a co-worker, friend or family member you’re concerned about contact: 

Crisis text line: 741741

Suicide prevention life line number: (800) 273-8255

If you believe someone is having a life-threatening crisis, call 911.