How Parents Can Play a Role in Youth Mental Health

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Youth suicide is a major concern in Winnebago County as shown in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS):

A staggering 18.6% of students in grades 9-12 seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months (1,014 students).
13.6% of students in grades 9-12 reported attempting suicide at least once in the last 12 months (710 students).
From 2010-2016 there were 16 youth suicides in Winnebago County from age 11-19.

Parents, you matter to your children. Believe it not, they actually listen to what you say and value your guidance. As a team we can support our youth and work to prevent suicide. Currently staff at Winnebago County Health Department are working with community partners on a number of initiatives to help the community prevent youth suicide, including:

  • The Real Happy Hour: Family connectedness is a protective factor in preventing youth suicide. This program is about strengthening families by providing education for families to take more time to talk, listen and connect, visit TheRealHappyHour.org.
  • Connected Community Wellness Screen: This emotional wellness and suicide risk screening tool can help identify youth that are struggling and connect them to resources before problems become severe. Encourage youth to have the Wellness Screen, available through the Oshkosh School District or through your health provider.
  • QPR: A training open to the public. Question the person about suicide. Persuade the person to get help. Refer them for help. This course can help you identify and help someone who is suicidal. Suggest your workplace, faith group, or civic organization hold a training. Find out where you can get trained in the Oshkosh area by contacting Community for Hope: 920-230-4840.
  • Safe- Guard Your Home (PDF): A guide to preventing youth suicide in the home. Read and share the information with family, friends, colleagues and other community members.

Reducing risk factors for suicide through community action is essential for the health and survival or our youth. These are just a few examples of ways parents can help. A full list of Youth Suicide Prevention Recommendations was published last year from the Winnebago County Child Death Review Team.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive #MentalHealthMonday posts from @WinnebagoHealth. Or visit Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection’s new resource- “MyConnection” – a one-stop shop for mental health and substance abuse information, resources and service navigation.

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Winnebago County Health Department

Vision: The Winnebago County Health Department is a leader in creating a culture that optimizes health and wellness in our community. Mission: Winnebago County Health Department leads change by providing services and building partnerships that strengthen the community.

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