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Youth suicide rates in the state on the rise, some spreading awareness to save lives

Opioid Crisis

North Haven, Conn. (WTNH) — According to the BHcare Alliance and CT Department of Public Health, suicide rates among youth in Connecticut have nearly double since last year.

According to the CT Department of Public Health, there were 22 suicides this year (as of September 30th): 8 of those from residents were between the ages of 11-17 years old.

Additionally, DPH reports that “since the CT Violent Death Reporting System (funded by federal CDC) has been collecting data (2015 to present) 90% of suicides occur in those people 25 years old and greater.”

Graphic: CT DPH

Pamela Mautte with BHcare – an alliance for prevention and wellness – said that suicide is the second leading cause of death in the state for people ages 15-34.

Mautte said social media is a contributing factor but it’s not the only problem.

“There’s a lot of pressure some youth have that internal pressure on themselves to be the possible best that they can be. So some of our higher achieving youth are very much at risk.”

Pamela Mautte, BHcare Alliance

Mautte told NEWS8 that suicide and opioid use is tied closely together.

“We know folks who have a chronic condition and chronic pain are at highway risk for suicide. We also know there’s several different mental health disorders that with those mental health disorders you are at high risk for suicide as well.”

Pamela Mautte, BHcare Alliance

Some, inspired by personal tragedy, are taking action in support of suicide prevention.

Tom Steen, who became passionate about suicide prevention after he lost his son, told NEWS8, “Almost ten years ago I got that knock on the door no parent ever wants to get, two police officers shared with me that my son died while attending college.”

Tom said his purpose now is spreading awareness. He provides schools with the tools they need to prevent suicide.

Steen told NEWS8, “One of my dearest experiences is somebody walking up to me on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago – at CVS no less – and saying ‘you saved my son’s life from a presentation you did’. That’s what makes a difference.”

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