Are Idaho School Policy Failures Playing A Role In Youth Suicide?
Youth suicide in Idaho isn't as predominant as it is in other states such as Wyoming, New Mexico, and Alaska, but self-inflicted, teenage mortality is still a major problem in the Gem State. Suicide data in the United States continues to suggest that a serious procedural reset at the school level could play a huge role in reducing these alarming rates.
I watched a report this week on youth suicides across the country. Something I read that rattled me to the core was a rise in suicides among children as young as ten. When a ten-year-old child makes the decision to attempt to harm themself or end their life, the first thing that comes to mind is how terribly we're letting our youth down in this country.
A 2018 study (per 100,000 residents) identified Idaho as a top-five state in the suicide rate among young people. Eight out of the top ten were western states with Wyoming having the highest rate. Idaho's red-flagged suicide mortality age range in recent years spans high school-aged kids up to the mid-twenties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The majority of the leading causes behind these deaths involve interactions among peers, bullying, racial differences, social isolation, lack of support, and psychological disorders such as depression, according to kidshealth.org.
It's my belief that Idaho schools (and schools across the country) need to radically revise current policies regarding student interaction and instruction. Mandatory counseling, a non-tolerance initiative to reduce harassment, curriculum additions including gender identity and mental health, and an increased presence of campus security should be pursued by U.S. school board members.
Too many bright, promising, young kids are taking their own lives in this country, and schools need to do a more effective job of planting seeds of awareness and unity in the minds of our young students.