By: Renee Ruffin-Price
For: AL DIA TODAY
Renee and I became friends my junior year in high school. Everything about her was perfect, externally. And everyone envied her from afar. Renee opened as we became friends and she shared that she struggled just like everyone else. She shared that because of some really difficult situations she began to wish that she was no longer here. She explained that the scars on her wrist were daily reminders that she did not want to go back to the life she once lived. She credited her ability to look at life differently to Coach Thompson, our basketball coach. Her coping mechanism switched from hurting herself to shooting hoops until the wee hours of the evening. Sports gave her a reason to push on. Sports gave her hope.
According to the National Institute of Health Journal (2005), suicide is the third leading cause of death among US adolescents aged 15–24, with males incurring higher rates of completion than females. Although the suicide rate in the United States has remained stable over the past 40 years, the estimated rate among adolescents and young adults has nearly tripled.
The story of Renee is not uncommon, the studies have shown millions of US adolescents participate in school-based and community sports programs and, furthermore, athletic involvement is ostensibly associated with protective factors that have been generally found to reduce suicide risk among young people: e.g. lower rates of illicit drug use, greater social supports, reduced risk for depression (NIMH, 2005).
Start the Conversation by being there for someone in crisis! STOP. ASK. LISTEN. ACT.
Warning signs can be found at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Crisis lines are available 24/7! Just dial 2-1-1, call 1-800-TALK (8255), or text “Start” to 741-741.”
Dr. Melissa Patton
President, Victory Kid Sports
Impacting Kids Through Sports