FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and East Forsyth High School counseling team and student leaders shared information about the school’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Program during Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
The team developed activities to stress the idea that it is okay to talk about mental health.
“We are committed to connecting our students, our community, and our staff to mental health resources and collaborating to teach them how to seek help for themselves or a friend,” said East Forsyth Assistant Principal Jill Mckee.”
Josh Owens, lead counselor at East Forsyth, shared some sobering information from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention what indicates mental health challenges for students is increasing.
“The latest data we could find states that one in five teenagers in the U.S. experienced episodes of major depression between 2013 and 2018 and that suicide rates increased by 57 percent between 2007 and 2018,” Owens said.
Signs of Suicide Prevention screeners found that 10.5 percent of ninth grade students experienced depression and eight were referred for counseling during the 2021-22 school year.
With the start of the new school year, East Forsyth has implemented the second year of its Signs of Suicide Prevention Program to encourage all students to seek help from trusted adults whether they have concerns about themselves or a friend.
Speakers identified several partners in the Program, including Family Ties, Mentor Me and the Place