Every September is Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
For over 20 years, Teen Lifeline has worked with the State of Arizona to have each September proclaimed Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (TSPA). This coincides with National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day, placing focus on youth suicide prevention and showcasing the connections of hope present in the lives of Arizona teens.
A community-wide effort to support Arizona teens
Every September during Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Teen Lifeline raises awareness of teenage mental health, suicide prevention, and the resources available to the community. This is done through the Chains of Hope project where schools work together to create paper chain links with messages of hope for students to take from, a community rally partnering with youth agencies across the Valley, and an increase in the number of prevention education workshops with students, school staff, and parents.
TSPA has been modeled from the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action, a national publication outlining a strategic approach to suicide prevention. Rest assured that this event is part of a national strategy recommended by agencies such as the CDC, NIH, and the US Public Health Service.
Every September during Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Teen Lifeline raises awareness of teenage mental health, suicide prevention, and the resources available to the community through Chains of Hope, community rallies, and prevention education for students, educators, and parents.
Chains of Hope
Teen Lifeline works with schools across Arizona on our annual Chains of Hope project to create a long paper link chain with messages of hope written on each link by teens, for teens. This acts as a visual representation of the connections of hope all around us in our schools and in our community. In its inaugural year 2019, we wrapped the nearly 13,000-link Chain of Hope around the Arizona Capitol Building.
At the end of the month, Teen Lifeline in partnership with Mercy Care awards three schools with a $1,000 grant towards inspiring long-term hope on their campus, based on the categories of most handwritten links created, highest ratio of links to students enrolled, and a combination of both links created and student ratio. The paper chains made by all the schools that participated are then displayed on each school’s campus, providing a connection to hope for the rest of the school year.
At the TSPA Community Rally, Teen Lifeline and various agencies come together to provide youth and adults with knowledge of the signs of suicide, risk factors, healthy coping skills, and resources available to them in the community. This rally is typically hosted at Tempe Marketplace on a Friday close to World Suicide Prevention Day.
Every weekday throughout September, our prevention team visits schools and community centers around the Valley to raise suicide prevention awareness and connect teens to local resources.
Teen Lifeline partners with other non-profit agencies aimed at enhancing resiliency in youth to ultimately prevent teen suicide within the state of Arizona. This collaboration takes place in the form of school-based rallies and informational gatherings aimed specifically at the adolescent population. These activities target youth to improve community awareness of mental illness, depression, and adolescent resiliency, while reducing stigma associated with reaching out for help.
Social Media and Digital Outreach
Throughout September, Teen Lifeline posts daily resources, educational content, how-to guides, and facts on teen mental health and suicide prevention across Facebook @TeenLifeline, Instagram @teen_lifeline, Twitter @602248TEEN, and LinkedIn @Teen Lifeline.
Additionally, we produce a series of PSAs each year featuring Arizona high school football players encouraging troubled teens to reach out to our hotline for help. These messages of hope are channeled through teen athlete social media accounts and other outlets to reach thousands of their peers.