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Ocala
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

DOH-Marion hosting free event for parents, guardians to discuss topic of teen suicide

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County’s risk-avoidance program, BRAZEN, is offering parents and guardians an opportunity to join a frank and potentially life-saving discussion about teen suicide.

The free event will be held on Thursday, September 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the One Health Center, which is located at 1714 SW 17th Street in Ocala.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the third-leading cause of death nationally among people between the ages of 15 and 19.

In 2019, suicide was the third-leading cause of death in the state of Florida for those in the 15–24 age group, according to the Department of Children and Families. During that year, 128 Floridians between the ages of 10 and 19 took their own lives.

A Florida Department of Health report from 2019 indicated that 11% of male high school students and 20% of female students seriously considered killing themselves, and many in each group actually made a plan to follow through.

In general, among all age groups, Marion County tends to have a higher annual suicide rate than the rest of Florida, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

Due to these troubling statistics and repeated reports about many of Marion County’s youth sinking into despair, BRAZEN wants to help educate parents and guardians on how to be alert to signs a troubled teenager might be pondering suicide and what to do about it.

During the upcoming event, BRAZEN will host a free dinner with a discussion about teen suicide by Joshua Wayne, a veteran and nationally certified youth counselor.

For over 25 years, Wayne has worked with youth in a variety of professional settings that include counseling at-risk youth in drug and alcohol treatment programs, foster care systems, community mental health facilities, and in his own private practice. He also previously worked as the director of Special Education for the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington.

For more information on BRAZEN’S upcoming event, or to register, please call 352-644-2687.

If you suspect that someone — youth or adult — may be at risk and in need of help, suggest that they call or text 988, the new National Suicide and Crisis Hotline.