FORSYTH COUNTY -- With almost 43,000 deaths by suicide in 2014, the issue has become a public health concern across the nation, prompting the Forsyth County Public Library to hold prevention workshops for teens beginning this weekend.
The library system is partnering with Suicide Prevention Action Network, Georgia (SPAN-GA) to offer a series of workshops and support groups to help teens and parents recognize the warning signs of a suicide attempt and how to support those affected by a recent loss.
The first workshop will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Hampton Park Library. The second workshop, which will include a support group session, will meet at the Post Road Library Sunday, Sept. 4 from 3-5:30 p.m.
A third workshop will be held at the Sharon Forks Library Thursday, Sept. 29 from 6:30-8 p.m.
While, for the general population, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, for teens and young adults aged 10-34, the reality is much starker: it ranks as this age group’s second leading cause of death.
In Georgia, suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-24, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
But there is hope.
Suicide is preventable.
The local workshops, which will be led by Sheri McGuinness, president of SPAN-GA, will share information about understanding prevention, knowing what to do when a friend or family member is in trouble, how to support someone affected by a loss and wellness and self-care.
“SPAN-GA’s mission is to raise awareness and break the stigma associated with suicide and mental health,” McGuiness said. “While these programs are not intended to be a form of counseling or treatment, participants will learn to recognize the warning signs of suicidal behaviors and communications and be prepared to act to prevent a possible tragedy.”
McGuinness recently launched her first book, “Choosing Hope Finding Joy,” which chronicles her personal journey navigating through trauma, grief and loss.
She is a survivor services specialist and has created strategies to develop services and support for survivors of a suicide loss in communities throughout Georgia.
The workshops are free, and no registration is required to attend.
For more information, visit forsythpl.org.