Notre Dame's mission of teaching young women 'what they need to know for life' extends to our families through a series of workshops and informational sessions designed to help famillies navigate the challenges, and embrace the opportunities, of parenthood in today's world. This year's series of workshop began with the topic of suicide which is, for many, is difficult to discuss.
The suicide rate among teen girls reached a 40-year high in 2015, according to new analysis from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found a substantial increase in suicides among teen girls and boys in the U.S. from 1975 to 2015, with the rate among girls hitting a record high. From 2007 to 2015 alone, suicide rates doubled among teen girls and rose by more than 30% among teen boys.
Between the media coverage and the popularity of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, a lot of attention has been brought to the very serious and difficult topic. This workshop, which was attended by more than forty parents and led by Notre Dame counselor Heather Valentine, provided a safe space to talk about suicide, the concept that it isn't inevitable, and the steps adults can take if they are concerned about a young person in their life. The group discussed how to talk to adolescents about suicide and other painful topics as well as how to recognize warning signs. They also discussed available resources.
The workshop leader, Heather Valentine, is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has worked with adolescents for more than 10 years. She got her start in college as an intern for the Santa Cruz County Suicide Prevention Services where she educated others on this topic and worked on the suicide crisis hotline.