‘Get our voices heard’

Indiana introduces a new suicide hotline number

Taking over 700,000 lives each year and being a leading cause of death in the state of Indiana, suicide is a rising problem that continues to grow.

Suicide has been a problem for awhile, but there has been a slight increase in the last two years among adolescents due to COVID-19. 

According to the CDC, the pandemic caused a 50.6% increase in the number of suspected suicide attempts of girls and a 3.7% increase in boys ages 12-17.

It’s especially apparent among youths in Indiana as it ranks second in the leading causes of death for ages 10-34. Students and teachers at SHS also agree that suicide is becoming a problem among students in the building.

“I think that students are recognizing that they’re struggling with their mental health for sure, and as students struggle, I think that more students are identifying thoughts of suicide or self harm,” school social worker Jorie Depalma said.

Depalma also believes that the need for mental health support in general has increased as more students began to struggle with it.

A group of students at Creating Connections for Cardinals, a club at SHS that targets sexual harrassment and mental health, also agree that suicide has become noticably prevalent among their peers.

One of those members, senior Thang Chin, has noticed this. He recalls his time in outpatient therapy and remembered seeing a fellow SHS student there as well.

Apart from being students at the same school, they also shared another thing in common. They were both there for the same reason as they both knew a couple of other students who were struggling with their mental health.

“While actual attempts might not increase dramatically. I think that thoughts of doing or the frequency at least is increasing,” Chin said.

While suicide is an issue that continues to effect everyone with its presence even being felt at SHS, it is preventable and can be stopped.

For those who may be going through thoughts of suicide or know someone that is, there are options available to get help with one of those being to reach out and talk to someone about it.

“We want them to reach out to someone so we want them to reach out to a friend or a trusted adult,” Depalma said. “Never be afraid to ask someone if they’re okay because if they’re not, then it lets them know you’re a safe person that they can talk to.”

Clubs at SHS are also offering help for those seeking it such as Bring Change to Mind and Creating Connections for Cardinals, also known as C3.

“Nobody should have to go through anything alone, so for anyone who doesn’t feel like going to somebody they know then they can contact us,” student leader of C3, junior Hailey Hickman said. “We are trained to approach it correctly and we can direct them into the place they need to get proper help.”

For those who are still looking for ways to receive help, another place to call is the new three digit dialing code known as 988 that will be available later this summer.

Those who text or call this new dialing code will be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. From there they will be connected to trained counselors who will get them the help they need.

Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor and manager of business development at Community Health Network, believes that this new code will help to bring more awareness and attention to mental health.

“I think it’s an awesome idea. I’ve been in the mental health profession since the late 1980s and it used to be a little tougher to get our voices heard to the general public,” Richardson said. “Now over the last two years, people are much more aware and accepting that mental health issues are real.”