On Thursday, September 20, the steps of the State Capitol will be crowded with children and adults working to raise awareness about a cause that has become increasingly distressing in recent years:  youth suicide prevention.

Suicide ranks third as the overall cause of the death for young people in Louisiana, and 90 percent of teenagers who die by suicide have a mental health problem, usually depression.  That’s why the Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention is using their grant funding to target 10,000 young adults between the ages of 10-24 who are believed to be at an increased risk for suicide due to emotional and psychological problems while living in the hurricane-impacted areas of Louisiana.

Students, teachers and marching bands from some of the schools most affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will be participating in the rally.  Youth speakers have also been invited to speak, and a skit is scheduled to be performed to demonstrate the impact of suicide on survivors.

What:             Suicide Prevention Rally

Where:           Steps of the State Capitol

                                       Baton Rouge, La.

When:            Thursday, September 20

                                      10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention was formed out of the Department of Health – Office of Mental Health.  Members of the Partnership, including the Department of Education and the Attorney General’s Office, will be participating in Thursday’s rally.

September 15 – 21 has been proclaimed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco as “Yellow Ribbon Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week.”  The rally is one in a series of events taking place across south Louisiana during the week.  For more information on the rally and other Yellow Ribbon Week events, contact Trina Evans Williams at (225) 342-9457 or e-mail tevans@dhh.la.gov.