Nebraska organizations team up to combat youth suicides

The past two years have been tough on everyone. An unprecedented pandemic has left a lot of people with mental struggles, adults yes, but especially children.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The past two years have been tough on everyone. An unprecedented pandemic has left a lot of people with mental struggles, adults yes, but especially children.

“What we quickly found out in 2020, is that it really was impacting our youth in a way that we did not see. In 2020, unfortunately, we saw the highest youth suicide rate in our community, since we’ve been tracking this data, and it was more than double than the year previous,” Julia Hebenstreit, the Executive Director of the Kim Foundation, said.

With too many kids being lost to suicide, Project Harmony and The Kim Foundation got together to develop a tool kit to try and stop another death from happening.

The tool kit was three pronged, starting with an awareness campaign called more tomorrows, focusing on the warning signs to watch for in your loved ones.

“Most importantly, if those are identified, where can you connect to resources? So, we were able to promote the more tomorrows really instill that hope in individuals and get the resources in their hands,” Hebenstreit said.

The second was to make homes safer for the holidays and when youth come to visit. Identifying those small triggers that could be lethal. Lastly, digital safety.

Julia says all of this could hopefully prevent another young person from taking their life, one step at a time.

“Use each engagement with someone for the better, not the worst, and just really build up and be a support. You don’t have to have the answers but just to be able to be a support to anyone who may need that,” Herbenstreit said.

If you or someone you love is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.

Categories: Nebraska News, News