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NH Workshops to Aid in Preventing Teen Suicide

Depression, anxiety and self-harm can be early warning signs of a teen at risk of suicide. (TaniaVdB/Pixabay)
Depression, anxiety and self-harm can be early warning signs of a teen at risk of suicide. (TaniaVdB/Pixabay)
October 27, 2017

SEACOAST, N.H. – Two workshops offering training in teen suicide prevention are coming up next month in the Portsmouth area. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens in New Hampshire, after accidental death.

Exeter Hospital is funding the workshops as part of a four-year initiative to address the problem of teen suicide and its underlying causes.

According to Meme Wheeler, director of the Chase Home for Children, it's important to be aware of early warnings that young people are at risk.

"Hurting themselves, for instance, cutting," she says. "Often, they'll talk about hurting themselves, killing themselves, wanting to die. Signs of depression, signs of anxiety."

The first workshop is coming up on November 3 in Kensington and is presented by HAVEN, a nonprofit dedicated to violence prevention and family well-being.

That day-long workshop is geared toward mental health practitioners, counselors and others who work with youth. Wheeler says it will focus on the relationship between trauma and suicide risk.

"Most of the youth that we work with at the Chase Home has suffered some sort of trauma and there really is a direct link between trauma and suicide," she explains.

Workshop participants will learn practical skills for identifying and responding to warning signs of suicide.

A second workshop takes place November 17 at the Community Campus in Portsmouth. Wheeler says that workshop will provide further training to staff, and is also open to community partners, including police departments.

"We all really need to be hand in hand, making sure we're doing the best possible support for these kids to prevent suicide," she adds.

The training is being conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NH