A Charlotte youth leadership group is inviting peers to talk among themselves and get advice from mental health professionals at a free seminar on suicide and self harm April 25.
Members of Connections Youth Leadership Development program, made up of seventh- through ninth-graders in public and private schools around the region, chose the topic before the suicides of two local transgender teens made news.
Those deaths spotlighted a perennial but often-hidden danger for all youths: More than 1 in 7 Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school students said they had seriously considered a suicide attempt in the past 12 months and almost 8 percent said they had made an attempt, according to a recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Nationally, suicide is the third-highest cause of death for people ages 10-24.
HOPE Advancement, a mental health practice with a Charlotte office, is sponsoring the event. Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health, the Charlotte chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Community Building Initiative and the Charlotte Community Relations Committee are also providing speakers and support.
Youths and adults are invited to the free session, scheduled for 1 to 3:30 p.m. April 25 at the Junior League of Charlotte, 1332 Maryland Ave. Volunteer coordinator Jay Ferguson said there will be separate sessions for the two age groups, with information about recognizing risks and providing support.
Registration is not required, but Ferguson said he’s trying to get the word out to ensure a large and diverse group of youths attends. The long-term goal is creating peer support groups in schools, he said. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-650-2864.