Laura Houser highlights youth suicide prevention strategies on local news media for Suicide Prevention Week

Screen shot of TV news program showing a split screen with Spectrum News 1 anchor Jason Fechner and UW Health Kids pediatrician Dr. Laura HouserDuring Suicide Prevention Week, September 4–10, Laura Houser, MD, professor, Divisions of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and Global Health and director of advocacy for the Department of Pediatrics, appeared on many local news shows to raise awareness and offer hope about youth suicide.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, and numbers are increasing. Between 2007 and 2018, the rate of suicide among young people aged 10 to 24 years increased by 60%. “This week is a good opportunity to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for mental health resources,” Houser said, “because suicide is a serious public health concern that can devastate families and communities.”

Houser noted the establishment of the new national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in July, which will be an important health resource nationally. Anyone can use it by calling or texting (#988). The new 988 number provides an alternative to the 911, which results in a standard law enforcement response. 988 callers will be connected to a health professional in their own state.

Houser encouraged parents to talk with their children and pay attention to changes in their behavior. She emphasized that families should not be afraid of talking about suicide. “Asking about suicide does not cause someone to suddenly consider it,” she said.

Read the full story in the UW Health press release “Expert says awareness, education and mental health advocacy are key to suicide prevention,” published September 7, 2022.

Selected media coverage

Preventing suicide among children, teenagers” aired on Spectrum News 1 on September 7, 2022.

UW Health highlights mental health advocacy for National Suicide Prevention Week” aired on WMTV/NBC 15 on September 7, 2022.

UW Health Kids reminds community of available mental health resources during National Suicide Prevention Week” aired on WKOW/ABC 27 on September 7, 2022.

Health officials offer reminders to spot signs of destructive behaviors” aired on WAOW/ABC 9 on September 7, 2022.