A resolution designating September as “Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” was approved by the Governor on Friday. Upon approval of the resolution (AJR-26), sponsors Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold) and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) released the following joint statement:
“Any loss of young life is a tragedy that impacts everyone in a community. Yet when the untimely death of that young person was ultimately preventable, it is all the more painful to process. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for children and young adults in New Jersey, while at least thirteen youth suicides take place every day throughout the country.
“This heartbreaking epidemic cannot be ignored. Far too many young people feel as if they are alone in their suffering – that no one could understand or help them through the mental illness, abuse, trauma, addiction or other seemingly insurmountable challenges they face.
“Yet that isolating belief simply is not true, as there is much that can be done to help people struggling with this pain. Mental health professionals can provide the counseling and resources a suicidal person needs to not only survive, but actually thrive in their day-to-day lives.
“That is why an annual Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is so important. Each September, public officials, relevant organizations and members of the public will be encouraged to promote awareness in their communities about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Furthermore, they will be called upon to develop strategies, programs and activities to help prevent youth suicides.
“Together, we can make a difference for the young people in our communities. Together, we can save lives.”