The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 6:59 am

Teen suicide focus of Parkview research grant

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

The Parkview Research Center has received a $300,000 grant to study use of telecommunications to deliver health-related services and address mental health needs of adolescents and young adults.

The proposal presented Monday stemmed from a 2013 report that showed Indiana has the highest rate of teens considering suicide and the second-highest rate of suicide attempts. About 1 in 5 high school students has seriously considered suicide.

In 2014 in Indiana, there were 948 reported suicides. In the Midwest in 2014, there were more than 9,000 attempts.

The grant is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has worked to improve health in its home state of New Jersey since 1972.

Teens with mental health issues face a lack of information, financial barriers and social stigma when seeking help. Understanding how to use the telephone to get around these barriers will be crucial, the organization said in a news release.

Clinton Faupel with RemedyLIVE said the plan is to have assembly programs in at least four high schools in the area where students can use their phones to interact and answer questions.

They will be able to answer questions without anyone else knowing their answer, but they will also be able to find out, for example, the number of people in the same room who have thought of attempting suicide.

The goal is to survey 2,000 students.

The study hopes to learn if things such as chat stations with adults or adults who will listen is a possible solution.

Representatives also said students say their lives are terribly stressful, mental health officials say. One reason involves cyberbullying. Decades ago when someone put someone down, two or three other people might see it. Now the bullying is on the Internet for the world to see.

The schools, meanwhile, are perceived to be the first place to go for a student suffering from depression or other mental health issues, said Marcia Haaff, chief executive officer of the Lutheran Foundation,

"And they’ll tell you they are the least prepared."

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