Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Counting For Kids Blog

Welcome to the Florida KIDS COUNT Counting for Kids blog.

Three thousand thirty-five (3,035) Floridian lives lost to suicide in 2014

Three thousand thirty-five (3,035) people: this could be the number of students in a high school or the year-round population of Provincetown, Massachusetts. However, this is the number of Floridian lives lost to suicide in 2014.

While death by suicide is statistically a rare event, seriously considering suicide or attempting suicide occurs with greater frequency among youth. In Florida, 13.8% of high school aged youth reported that he or she had seriously considered suicide , 11.1% had made a suicide plan , and 5,508 (2.5%) were medically treated for a suicide attempt.

Here’s what you can do to prevent youth suicide

  1. Ask someone if they are considering suicide - Asking someone about suicide does not plant the idea.  Asking someone directly if he or she is thinking about suicide in a caring manner can help a person realize it’s okay to struggle and seek help.  Help them make the call to the National Lifeline number at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or help them contact a family physician, psychiatrist, medical emergency room, or their community mental health center.
  2. Encourage school staff to get training - Continuing education/in-service training in youth suicide awareness and prevention for kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) instructional personnel is available beginning this fall due to legislation passed in the 2016 Florida Legislative Session.  Each school in which all instructional personnel complete two hours of approved training is eligible to be designated as a Suicide Prevention Certified School. More information is coming soon but in the meantime download the School-based Youth Suicide Prevention Guide at http://theguide.fmhi.usf.edu/.
  3. Support common sense firearm legislation and candidates - Guns account for more suicides than all other methods combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal_injury_reports.html), because they are much more lethal. Over 21,000 people died from suicide by firearms in the United States in 2013.  For youth through age 19, firearms accounted for 899 suicide deaths nationally and 41 suicide deaths in Florida. Research says that limiting access to weapons means fewer people can end their lives by suicide. 
  4. Help physicians and medical professionals keep our kids safe - We need to change the privacy laws that prevent medical professionals from asking about access to guns in the home.  Pediatricians ask about bike helmets, seat belts, and other concerns during child wellness check-ups to prevent injury. When doctors ask parents about guns, they’re trying to prevent injuries, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages its members to ask questions about guns and safe storage as part of well-child visits.


National Suicide Prevention Week is September 5th to 11th.  Let’s reach out, offer to help those struggling, and be a true friend.  Let’s encourage our teachers and school staff to obtain suicide prevention training, and support common sense firearm legislation and candidates.  Let’s help doctors keep our kids safe.

Stephen Roggenbaum

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