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Youth Suicide Prevention Program in the News

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Tri-Cities Community Plans Suicide Awareness Walk for World Suicide Prevention Day

KENNEWICK, WA - Thursday is World Suicide Prevention Day, and suicide happens to be the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Experts say someone commits suicide every 13 minutes in America. The Youth Suicide Prevention Program works to inform people about suicide all over. NBC Right Now spoke with the Benton Franklin County Field Coordinator about the importance of prevention.

"Most suicidal thoughts are veyr brief. So if we can intervene, the quicker we can intervene, the more likely it is that we are going to save a life," explained Kristi Haynes.

Over the years, Washington state has seen a rise in youth suicides. "Youth suicide is the second leading cause for death in the state, which is actually 10% higher than the rate across the United States. So, we are higher here in Washington," said Haynes.

Since January, Benton and Franklin counties have already lost 31 lives to suicide. Just last year, Washington sent a Healthy Youth Survey to Washington Public Schools and surveyed 26,000 students.

"Fifteen percent of youth that were surveyed said they did not have a trusted adult they could turn to when they are feeling sad or hopeless," explained Haynes, "so we try to break down the stigma and offer resources and educate people on how toc onnect those who are hurting to those resources."

Safe Harbor and My Friend Place located on North Grant Place in Kennewick, are resources for teens. "We need to make sure that these kids feel safe and they are comfortable and protected," explained Heather Shindhite, who supervises the shelters.

Shindhite encourages teens in troubling times to drop in for support. "The community here, the kids are supportive of each other, the staff is supportive of all the kids. It is a real warm, welcoming environment," said Shindhite.

From Foosball to board games, the center offers many ways for teens to take a mental break and find support from peers.

"We are available to any teen in the Tri-Cities who needs a cooling down period. Who just needs to come in, talk to somebody. We are here from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. and 24 hours a day on the weekends," explained Shindhite.

The 7th annual Walk About to Talk About Suicide Prevention Walk will take place on Saturday the 12th starting at Outback Steakhouse in Kennewick. It starts at 10:30 a.m. The walk is free and helps raise awareness as well as remembering those we have lost.

Source: http://www.nbcrightnow.com/story/30006401/tri-cities-community-plans-suicide-awareness-walk-for-world-suicide-prevention-day

 

Spanish Language interviews

Youth Suicide Prevention Program's Cindy Gonzalez talks to Atitude Latina and Conexion Contigo about preventing suicide among our Latino youth and about helping parents identify the signs of depression and suicide in their children.


Listen to Conexion Contigo interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conexioncontigo

Five teen suicides have left ‘whole community hurting’

by Jody Lawrence-Turner, The Spokesman-Review
May 12, 2015

Five teen suicides this school year – including three in the past month – have jolted the community. It’s the highest number in the history of Spokane Public Schools, prompting parents, students and community members to ask what they can do to help.

“There’s an increased need. I see the whole community hurting,” said Sabrina Votava, Spokane’s Youth Suicide Prevention Program field coordinator. “It’s affected all the schools, even districts outside of Spokane.”

There have been other teen suicides in Spokane County; however, officials don’t have a firm count since the start of the year.

Suicide among teens and young adults averages about 1 death every six weeks, according to Spokane Regional Health District records of 15- to 24-year-olds from 2005 to 2009.

The school district is holding community forums every week through June to talk to anyone interested in learning about available suicide prevention resources and information to stop what some consider a public health crisis. Mental health experts from Frontier Behavioral Health, Children’s Home Society, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Native Project are joining district officials to help.

“The proximity of the suicides is so concerning,” said Superintendent Shelley Redinger. “We are trying to make sure the forums happen at high schools and inviting middle school feeders. We are trying to make sure people know where to find resources and support.”

The school district is holding community forums every week through June to talk to anyone interested in learning about available suicide prevention resources and information to stop what some consider a public health crisis. Mental health experts from Frontier Behavioral Health, Children’s Home Society, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Native Project are joining district officials to help.

“The proximity of the suicides is so concerning,” said Superintendent Shelley Redinger. “We are trying to make sure the forums happen at high schools and inviting middle school feeders. We are trying to make sure people know where to find resources and support.”

Recruitment is underway for the first 30 students.

“Kids are the front line on this challenge,” he said.

Link to original article

 

"The Climb" Raises Suicide Awareness

by Raven Richard, KNDU 25
April 18, 2015

RICHLAND, WA- Suicide among young people continues to rise in our state, but the Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Benton and Franklin Counties and PFLAG Benton Franklin want that to change.  

Participants on Saturday evening climbed Badger Mountain to symbolize the ups and downs some people may experience in their lives.

They are not alone.  "Encouragers" along the Badger Mountain Trail pushed each person to keep going as a reminder that people are there to show support to prevent suicides from happening.

The Washington State Department of Health said 566 suicides happened in our state from 2007 to 2011 in the 10 to 24-year-old age group.  That rate was up 5% from the previous fives years.

Founder of Urban Poets Society, a group that shared experiences at the event, said suicide hits close to home and it is important to hold events like this.

"Everybody is affected by it.  To pull together and find ways to prevent or to reach our, to prevent it from happening again, you have to take on constructive, creative activities where people are able to bond in a situation like this," said Jordan Chaney, found of Urban Poets Society.

A short program of inspiration happened before the hike up to the top.  The climb hoped to raise more awareness about issues of bullying and suicide prevention. 

The Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Benton and Franklin County said Saturday was not the only time help is given out.  The group said support is always available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Link to Original Article

Univision Interview, El suicidio en adolescentes

youth suicide Spanish TVinterviewYouth Suicide Prevention Program Trainer Marissa Beach appeared on Spanish TV Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day.

Watch Video >

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KYVE Insiders Roundtable: Suicide Prevention

Celisa interviewLast year, Yakima County saw a ten year high in its suicide rate, and it's a topic that affects all ages and ethnic groups. Heidi O'Malley sits down with those on the front lines of suicide prevention, high school counselor Wendy Ross and Youth Suicide Prevention Program Field Coordinator Celisa Hopkins, to discuss the importance of recognizing the warning signs and how you can make a difference.

Watch Video >

 

 

Tribes fight suicide, a leading killer of native youth

Native youth die from suicide at a higher rate than any other population in Washington, and tribes in the state are fighting back.

By Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times staff reporter

Suicide stalks Indian Country, claiming more lives of native youth than those in any other population, not only in Washington, but nationally.

State Department of Health statistics released this month show that in Washington, the rate of suicide among native youth from 10 to 24 years old was more than double the rate of any other ethnic population.

Tribes are fighting back. At the Lummi Nation, tribal leaders last year enhanced a long-standing social-services program with a youth suicide-prevention component. The Colville, Spokane and Yakama tribes also are utilizing prevention grants and training through the Native Aspirations Program. The Spokane-based program for the past five years has helped 65 tribes across the country combat suicide, the second-biggest killer of native youth, after accidents.

Read The Seattle Times story here

Two Teen Suicides Influenced by Social Media

KATU news in Battle Ground recently spoke with YSPP's Mary Jadwisiak about cyberbullying and suicide prevention. The connection between bullying and suicide is often over simplified in the media, but this article does a great job of explaining what happened to two teens who were bullied on Facebook and how bullying can be a factor for suicide.

Read the KATU story here

4th Annual Walk About to Talk About Suicide in Benton-Franklin Counties

On Saturday, September 15, 2012, YSPP's Benton-Franklin Suicide Prevention Coalition held its 4th Annual Walk About to Talk About Suicide in Kennewick. All three area television stations covered the story. Here is KNDU's coverage.

Watch KNDU's coverage of the Walk About to Talk About Suicide

Teen Suicide Interview

Q13 Fox, April 12, 2012

YSPP's Heather Carter talks to Q13 about the suicide warning signs, the risk and protective factors for minority and LGBTQ populations, and the efforts to prevent youth suicide through education.

Watch the Q13 interview here.

No Profile for Youths who Take Own Lives

Tacoma News Tribune, April 12, 2012

There is no real profile for a young person who commits suicide.

Some are high achievers, and others struggle in school. Some come from happy families and others from troubled homes.

“Suicide is a really complex issue,” said Victoria Wagner, executive director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, an education group that’s headquartered in Seattle and has staff around the state. “Anecdotally, we do know that it cuts across the board.”

She said there are warning signs. They include:

 • Sudden change in mood.

 • Giving away possessions, especially ones that hold special meaning.

 • Depression, anxiety and hopelessness.

 • An increase in alcohol and drug use.

 • Avoiding people and spending more time alone.

 • A preoccupation with death.

 • A previous suicide attempt.

If you notice warning signs in a young person you know, don’t be shy about reaching out, Wagner said. “Be direct. Ask, ‘Are you thinking of suicide?’” she said.

If the answer is yes, take action – call a crisis line, talk to a school counselor or otherwise ensure the youth gets professional help, Wagner said.

In Washington, an average of two youths between the ages of 10 and 24 kill themselves each week, and another 17 make attempts, Wagner said.

In young people, suicide often is an impulsive act, not one that’s thought out, she said. “The message is, tell somebody and get help,” Wagner said. “You’re not alone. There are people who care about you.”

If you’re thinking about committing suicide or know someone who is, call 1-800-273-TALK for help.

Wagner’s program has more information on warning signs and prevention on its website, www.yspp.org.

© Copyright 2012 Tacoma News, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Read this article on the News Tribune's website

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Teens Invited to Help Save Teens' Lives

Battle Ground, February 4, 2012

On Monday evening, a Battle Ground couple will open their home to host the first session in a six-week series, “Helping Hurting Students.”

The series was put together quickly, and an announcement will be made Monday at Battle Ground High School, which has had three students commit suicide in the past year.

Aaron Chidester of Unite 4 Life, a local nonprofit organization that addresses teen depression and suicide, said he hopes 25 Battle Ground teenagers will show up at Mike and Janette Nixon’s home, 508 N.W. 13th Circle. If more students show up, great. If too many show up to fit into the home, Chidester said, he has a standing offer from Mayor Lisa Walters to move the session to City Hall.

“This is a beginning,” Chidester said Saturday. If the classes go well, he and Battle Ground parent Shawnee Speratos hope to offer the series again, with the goal of reaching out to all of the students in Battle Ground.

Chidester and Speratos spoke Saturday at Starting Grounds Church in Battle Ground as part of an initial effort to form a group to help battle teen suicide.

Mary Jadwisiak, Southwest Washington coordinator of the statewide Youth Suicide Prevention Program, said the school does have suicide prevention programs, but teaching all students, and adults in the community, to identify warning signs and reach out to talk about depression and suicide helps because teens often talk to their friends or another adult before going to a parent.

 

Read rest of the article at The Columbian

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Suicide Prevention Walk About to Talk About

MSNBC TriCities, Sept 15, 2011

walkaboutKENNEWICK, Wash.— On average one person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes and often no one ever knows they're struggling.  Now the Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Benton/Franklin County is trying to get your attention about the silent killer.

The program is having their 3rd annual awareness walk called ‘Walk About to Talk About.' 

Since January 1st, 2011 24 people have died by suicide in the Tri-Cities.  By this time last year, 14 people had taken their own lives.

"I personally have had a family member who died by suicide.  I've had friends who and people who I know and love who were having thoughts of suicide, and I wanted to know how do I help friends and people that I love," says Kristi Haynes, Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

 

Read article at MSNBC

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School districts to share suicide prevention grant

Yakima Herald-Republic, Sept 7, 2011

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Sunnyside, Mt. Adams and Mabton school districts are among local districts that will share in a three-year, $1.4 million suicide prevention grant from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Titled "From the Classroom to Community: A Team Approach to Youth Suicide Prevention," the grant is intended to help schools implement intervention and prevention programs.

The grant, which breaks down to $480,000 a year, is being administered by the nonprofit Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Washington State. Others sharing in the same grant are the Lower Columbia College in Cowlitz County and Bethel School District is Pierce County.

 

Read article at Yakima Herald

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Teens take suicide prevention program to peers

WATCH KING5.COM VIDEO

by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 HealthLink
KING5.
COM

"In 1992 a young boy by the name of Trevor Simpson died by suicide," said Lily Tesfaye as she stood in front of fellow students at Franklin High School.

Tesfaye is a founding member of an after-school health club called the Franklin High School Q-TIHPS. It stands for Quaker Teens Improving Health Problems. The club members have begun reaching out to fellow students during scheduled presentations, hoping to prevent teen suicide

"This is real. It's just not a funny thing to laugh around or joke around or just act like it's not even there. It is there. I've had friends that have committed suicide," said club member Sophomore Jonathan Owen.

The student presenters talked about causes of suicide, and gave tips for talking to someone in trouble, and for getting help. Their curriculum was developed by a local non profit organization called the Youth Suicide Prevention Program. The organization's mission is to reduce the incidence of youth suicide in Washington State. They accomplish that goal through training, presentations, and awareness building efforts among teens and adults. 

School nurse Robin Fleming organized the fledgling after-school health club at Franklin High School.

"Suicide is a very serious issue. Two kids complete suicide in Washington State every week, and many many more consider an attempt," she said.

Club members asked their audience to think about suicide warning signs. Those include a teen talking about suicide, and preoccupation with death, also giving away prized possessions and increased alcohol or drug use. Classmates are often the first to see those signs.

Dr. Robert Hilt, Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Seattle Children's described the problem of too little mental health treatment for children who need it.

"The state has one child psychiatrist for every 820 children with serious emotional disturbance, which is not a good ratio for providing services," he said.

Robin Fleming added that school nurses are stretched too thin as well.

"I have about 1,600 to 1,700 kids on my caseload," she said.

She explained that research shows a peer education approach is very effective in reaching teens.

"They're very engaged when their peers are talking to them about topics. And they retain the information. And they use the information. And they will go back to those kids and talk to those kids if they have questions," she said.

The Q-TIHP health club members say they'll keep spreading the word.

Lily Tesfaye explained saying, "I want to help people. I don't want another generation to die. Like, maybe those people who die might be the person who could change the world."

The teens hope to expand their audience beyond Franklin High School, to community centers and clinics in the near future.

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Construction of Aurora Bridge Suicide Barrier Completed

YSPP celebrates the completion of the Aurora Bridge suicide barrier! After so many unnecessary deaths, we are pleased that so many came together to make this a reality. Thanks to the survivor-families, community activists, engineers, pastors and people of faith, law enforcement officers, suicide prevention advocates and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. But the biggest thanks go to Ryan Thurston and his group, Seattle Friends. It was their leadership that got this project rolling!

Posted by Olivia Bobrowsky
February 15, 2011

Crews have completed all but minor work on a barrier fence on the Aurora Bridge this week, built to deter people from jumping off the bridge.

More than 230 people have leapt to their deaths from the bridge, officially called the George Washington Memorial Bridge, since it was built in 1932.

Construction of the 8-foot, 9-inch-tall safety fence started in the fall and cost $5 million, according to a state Department of Transportation news release. The Legislature’s 2009-2011 transportation budget included $3.6 million to build the fence.

The bridge spans 2,945 feet, connecting Fremont to Queen Anne. More than two-thirds of the bridge stands over land, according to the news release.

A group of people who live and work in Fremont lobbied for the fence’s construction, which was supported by the city of Seattle, King County and the state Legislature.

 

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Skills for safety: Teachers, parents discuss youth suicide in training sessions

Jennifer Fisher, Laura Collinwood and Bobbi Bland role-play a listening exercise with
Heather Kern, foreground, during a SafeTALK intervention class at Snoqualmie Middle School.
Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter

Feb 01 2011

Talking about suicide, scary as it is, will not make anyone’s problems worse, says Sue Eastgard, Director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Project. More likely, it will help someone.

“Most suicidal people don’t want to die,” she said. “They are, most of the time, relieved that someone has broached the subject with them.”

The safeTALK training that Eastgard put on at Snoqualmie Middle School on Tuesday, Jan. 26. was designed specifically to start people talking about this very difficult subject. After a three-hour safeTALK training, “unanimously, people feel more comfortable with the subject,” Eastgard said.

A full slate of 30-plus people attended the training, to learn how to tell if someone has suicidal thoughts, and how to help those people. Attendees included school administrative and counseling staff, teachers, and at least one parent, who were gratified to see so many school staff present.

“That’s great that some of the secretarial staff are here, because they see the kids first,” said Bobbi Bland of Snoqualmie, who has a daughter in elementary school.

According to the YSPP website, about 80 percent of people who’ve killed themselves had shown signs that they were considering suicide. In safeTALK, Eastgard categorizes the signs by what the observer sees, hears and otherwise senses. Training helps people “to better understand the ways that suicidal people tell us, both in their behavior and in their words, that they are in trouble,” Eastgard said.

Anger, guilt, depression, alcohol or drug abuse, reckless behavior, and many anti-social and non-verbal behaviors could be signs that a person, of any age, is thinking about hurting himself or herself. The warning signs can also be subtle, so listening is very important, especially for the next step.

If you sense any type of warning sign in someone, Eastgard said, “Then you’re going to ask the direct question that’s so hard to ask... ‘Are you feeling so badly you’re thinking about suicide?’”

Then, be ready to listen to what they say, because “hardly anybody says no to that question,” said Eastgard.

It’s a myth that asking someone directly about suicide will plant the idea, says Kristy Trione, who’s taken the training. “Sue really drives home the fact that they’ve already got the idea in their heads.”

The safeTALK training also covers how to connect a person who needs help with the right resources, and some basic role-playing, to give participants a chance to ask those hard questions. Many of the participants worked at elementary and middle schools, where youth suicide was not as much of a concern, but all were ready to learn.

“My feeling is that you can never know enough about the topic,” said Snoqualmie Middle School counselor Heather Kern.

Administrative assistants Karon Paauw and Jean Christensen, also at SMS, wanted to be able to help if they saw a need.

“It would be good to know about what the signs are,” said Paauw.

“And if you could recognize them,” Christensen added.

Last week’s safeTALK and the upcoming two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) are offered free to Valley residents by the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network, which is sponsoring the training.

Trione, a Community Network facilitator, explained that youth suicide is one of the network’s two main issues, and has been for several years, because of the results of the network’s biannual Healthy Youth Survey.

“In 2005, when we looked at the results, there was a spike in suicide ideation and attempts,” she said. The highest numbers were reported for sophomores in the Snoqualmie district.

Since 2005, the numbers have declined, but they’re still significant enough for the Network to maintain its focus on the issue. Providing training such as safeTALK helps community members prepare for handling a situation with a suicidal person, Trione said, and “to wrestle with the question of what’s going on in our community.”

ASIST is a two-day workshop open to all people who work with youth in a professional capacity. The session is Feb. 7-8 at Chief Kanim Middle School. For more information, visit www.yspp.org or www.snoqualmievalleycommunitynetwork.org.

Copyright ©2008 Black Press. All rights reserved.

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KBCS 91.3fm: Voices of Diversity

Bullying and Harassment

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Radio Interview (mp3)

Bullying can occur anywhere, anytime and to anyone. And while a growing number of cases point to cyber bullying-harassment on facebook and other social networks- physical and verbal bullying are still factors in schools and college environments. What can be done to prevent bullying in schools?
Host: Sonya Green

Guests
Sofia Nicholson Keener is a sophomore at Ballard High School. She experienced bullying at her school and is here to share more about her experience.

Dr. Kari Lerum is a sociologist who recently mentored a group of students to produce "Alone, Together," a short film and curriculum guide for the Safe Schools Coalition. The film tells stories of kids who have been bullied.

Heather Carter is the coordinator of Youth Suicide Prevention Program OUTLoud Project. OUTLoud focuses on the risks of suicide, self harm, and depression found among Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer youth. Heather also recently developed a curriculum on bullying and bias based harassment that focuses on LGBTQ youth. She is also a Safe Schools Coalition board member.

Marko Liias is a Youth Suicide Prevention Program Board Member and 21st District State Representative. Marko is the prime sponsor of HB 2801, a newly enacted law that addresses harassment and bullying in Washington’s public schools.


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Seattle Gay News logo

OUTLoud: Making a difference for LGBTQ youth in Washington

by Heather Carter - Special to SGN

With all the media coverage of the recent youth suicides, I am convinced more now than I have been for the past three years that the program I run is valuable to our community. I run OUTLoud for the Youth Suicide Prevention Program. OUTLoud provides public education (through trainings and community outreach) focusing on LGBTQ youth and their risk for suicide, self-harm, and depression, and also focuses on bullying and bias-based harassment and the links these experiences have to lifelong negative mental health outcomes.

Through education, the adults that provide services to youth (whether in schools or community organizations or within family structures) can be provided with the tools they need in order to increase support for these youth, thereby reducing their risks. The education also provides understanding about why the situation is the way it is for so many of these youth - it's not because they are Gay, it's because of the reaction to this identity.

When you are face to face with an LGBT-identified youth who's telling you they need more support from the adults in their life because they feel alone, most adults will feel a connection with that and try to increase that support in the youth's life. A huge piece of the education we provide is that this is not just an LGBT issue. Youth are bullied and teased based on anti-Gay bias all the time that don't identify that way. It's all too common for people to either perceive someone as LGBT or to just bully them based on that identity because it's such a great way to get to them. In fact, statistically speaking, more straight-identified youth are bullied using anti-LGBT language than LGBT youth.

We have to do something about this now. The 'It Gets Better' Project is great and truly heartfelt, but we need to 'Make Things Better' (another great project) for these youth now - not tell them to hang on until this unforeseen future comes and miraculously changes things for the better. In my small way, I am working to make things better for these youth now so they don't have to just 'hang on'.

I truly believe that OUTLoud is making a difference for LGBTQ youth in Washington state, and I think it would be a huge loss if we were forced to shut the program down due to lack of funds, which is a very real fear in this economy. I'm working on fumes right now and hoping that more funding will come in soon so we can not only continue this work, but continue to expand our reach and our focus.

For more information about the Youth Suicide Prevention Program and OUTLoud or to make a donation, please visit www.yspp.org.

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Seattle Gay News logo

Seattle Gay News Article with contributions by YSPP's Heather Carter,
OUTLoud Project Coordinator

LGBTQ STUDENTS BULLIED TO DEATH

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor
October 1st 2010 Edition

Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, and Tyler Clementi may not have had much in common. None of the teens knew each other, nor did they live in the same state or attend the same school. But what these four boys did share was that they all faced violence from their peers simply by being perceived as LGBTQ, and each of them reportedly committed suicide rather than endure the daily violence of anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and hate. In the words of young Asher Brown's family, the boys were 'bullied to death.' Homophobia is killing our youth, and there seems to be no end in sight.

Read complete article
(scroll down to highlighted text)

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New Bright Ideas Recognizes Innovative Government


The press release below announces the selection of the YSPP H.E.L.P. (Helping Every Living Person) curriculum as one of 173 noteworthy “government” programs. Because of the collaboration between YSPP, OSPI and DOH we were asked to apply and we got chosen!!

The selection was made by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University. We were chosen from among 600 applications.

Selects 173 Noteworthy Government Programs and Practices

September 29, 2010
Cambridge, Mass.

Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced 173 government programs selected for its newly-created Bright Ideas program. In its inaugural year, Bright Ideas is designed to recognize and share creative government initiatives around the country with interested public sector, nonprofit, and academic communities.

To continue reading click here

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Q13 Fox News Logo See Q13 Fox News coverage of the Ballard High School's 'You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project', including a short interview with Heather Carter, YSPP's OUTLoud Project Coordinator.
(Heather is speaking at 1:33 of 2:26 min. video)
Article by the Ballard News-Tribune is featured below.

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Ballard students offer messages of acceptance to gay youth


Ballard High school junior Katie Perry writes a message in chalk outside the high school Oct. 4 as part of a nationwide project to draw attention to the high suicide rates among gay students due to harassment.


By Michael Harthorne
2010-10-04

In the face of five high-profile stories of American students committing suicide last month after enduring harassment from their peers for their perceived sexual identify, members of the Ballard High School SLAM club spent the early morning hours Oct. 4 writing messages of acceptance and love in chalk outside the high school.

SLAM, which stands for Student Lives Always Matter, is Ballard's suicide prevention club. It spends its time doing educational outreach to help students who need it and to let students know how to help their friends.

The chalk messages, such as "Just be yourself" and "You are loved," are part of the second-annual national You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project. The project was started in 2005 by a student at Drew University in New Jersey to highlight the extra risk of suicide faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students.

Paul Barry, mental health therapist at the Ballard High School Teen Health Center, said statistics show young people who are sexual minorities think about and commit suicide more often than their heterosexual peers due to harassment.

Click here to continue reading article


Ballard High School's SLAM team - Student Lives Always Matter Ballard High School student write messages in chalk

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Seattle Gay News logo

Local students participate in nationwide pro-LGBT chalk project

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On October 4, students in Ballard High School's Students Lives Always Matter (SLAM) participated in the 'You Are Loved Chalk Project,' a national effort to show support in student suicide prevention.

SLAM club president Sydney Jarol, 18, said that a collective of 10 students gathered at 7 a.m. to draw messages of hope and support with chalk on the school sidewalk. 'We heard all the stories about the recent LGBT students that ended their lives,' she told SGN. 'We are working to help prevent that from happening in Seattle. We participated in the You Are Loved Chalk Project to show our LGBT students that we are a welcoming community, we have love, and that we care about them.'

Click here to continue reading article

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Seattle Gay News logo

Youth Suicide Prevention OUTLoud presents 'You Are Not Alone'

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Suicide, the third-largest cause of death among teens, is a serious problem for LGBT youth. It is estimated that 30-40% of LGBT teens will attempt suicide at least once - and many of them will succeed. On September 21, the Youth Suicide Prevention (YSPP) OUTLoud program presented the premiere of You Are Not Alone, a YSPP video spotlighting the lives of three local LGBTQ youth focused on the risks for suicide, self-harm, and depression, and how to intervene with a suicidal youth.

Click here to continue reading article


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