For my group’s YPI Social Issue, we chose teen suicide. Teen suicide
is an issue that has been around for many years. Statistics have shown
suicide is the third leading cause of death ages 15-24 and the fourth
leading cause of death for children 10-14. 19.3% of high school
students have seriously considered suicide and 14.5% of them made
plans to commit suicide. We thought this social issue was something
important that needed to be talked about and addressed. Some of the
related social issues closely connected to teen suicide are bullying,
cyber-bullying, and acceptance of others’ sexual orientation.
The organization we chose was the Samaritans.
The Samaritans was first started in 1953 in Europe, and over the past
42 years has expanded to America. The idea came from the founder, a
clergyman who found that people who came for his help opened up to
volunteers who would serve coffee in his office. Today, there are over
100 volunteers working to help those in need of their counseling.
Because of confidentiality, we were not allowed to visit the center
but met with the Director, Joy Savola at Friends. She told us the call
center consists of four desks and phones in a room. The space may
sound simple, but everyday lives are being saved.
When I first started working on this project, I had a fair amount of
knowledge of teen suicide, and as I continued to do more research my
passion to get word out of this issue soared. Part of this growth was
also from family. While we were working on the project, one of my
father’s cousins passed away by suicide. This greatly devastated my
family because we’re all so close knit. With this loss, I became more
and more determined to tell people about teen suicide and how it can
be prevented and how lives can be saved.
Over the course of the project, I learned many new things about timed
presentations. I learned how to condense information correctly and
limit text. One of the challenges was memorization. Often, if I don’t
know a script by rote, I can’t relax and present my slides; I had to
work hard to remember what I needed to say and be sure not to take too
long. It was very rewarding to know so much about such a sad issue and
to have such a passion and drive to tell people about it. I hope to
give donations and promote awareness about the Samaritans.