Baton Rouge --- The statistics tell an alarming story: every 42 seconds, someone in this country attempts suicide. Someone dies from suicide every 17 minutes. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for adolescents in Louisiana. 

Hoping to change these grim statistics, Gov. Mike Foster and state officials have designated Sept. 21-27 as Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week. During this time, members of various public and private offices will work to raise awareness of suicide and how to prevent it.

 “No one should have to feel the painful effects of suicide,” said Department of Health Secretary David W. Hood. “It is our hope that during this week we can help our citizens protect their loved ones by educating them about suicide.”

 The Louisiana Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, a collaborative group of state and local agencies, is using this week to spread more information about suicide and how to prevent it. The Task Force developed from a partnership between the LDH Office of Public Health and the Louisiana Adolescent Health Initiative. This Initiative is a statewide program that has been established to improve the health status of adolescents in Louisiana by creating a coordinated and comprehensive adolescent health planning and delivery system. 

 Task force members include Louisiana Adolescent Health Initiative (Chair), Adolescent School Health Initiative, the Attorney General’s Office, Baton Rouge Crisis Center, Children’s Bureau, Department of Education, Family Planning Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Injury Prevention, Jewish Family Service, Maternal and Child Health Program, Office of Mental Health and Volunteer Information Agency.

 The group will be distributing information through its Yellow Ribbon Program, which is recognized as the symbol for awareness and prevention of youth suicide by suicide prevention groups, crisis centers, schools, churches, youth centers, hospitals, counselors, teachers, parents and youth throughout the world.

 For more information about the Louisiana Yellow Ribbon Youth Suicide Prevention Week Activities or to join the Louisiana Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, call Trina Evans Williams, OPH state adolescent health coordinator, at (504)-568-6636.