“MISSOULIAN EDITORIAL: Talk to teens about depression, suicide”

This Missoulian editorial was originally published Sept. 30, 2015

“The latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey contains a disturbing message – consider it a cry for help – from Montana’s teens. More of them reported experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts.

The Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a joint effort by the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Centers for Disease Control, is conducted every two years. Students voluntarily answer personal questions in a variety of health and behavior categories.

This year’s survey revealed that more than 29 percent of teens in Montana have had feelings of sadness or hopelessness that lingered for two weeks or longer, an increase from 26.5 percent in 2013. And nearly 9 percent said they had attempted suicide at least once during the past year – up a full percentage point from 2013.

This is not the direction we want to be going.

Fortunately, there is much we can do in Montana – as individuals and communities – to reverse the trend. Some promising efforts are already underway.

For one, the 2015 Montana Legislature approved a bill that ensures all public school employees will receive special training in suicide awareness and prevention.”

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