Focus of inaugural Injury Prevention Day: Deter suicides

Harborview Medical Center and other U.S. hospitals will glow with green light to call attention to efforts to protect children and teens.

Bodily injuries remain the leading cause of death and suffering among U.S. children and teens. Each day, 20 children die from preventable injuries—more than all diseases combined. In parallel, the nation’s second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24 is suicide.

With that backdrop, the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) and the University of Washington’s Forefront Suicide Prevention center, in partnership with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, are inaugurating National Injury Prevention Day on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Hospitals and trauma centers across the country will be bathed in green light to “shine a light” on opportunities to prevent serious childhood injury.

“Suicide rates in Washington among youth and young adults have increased over the past six years,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, a UW Medicine pediatrician and a HIPRC co-director. She emphasized that each of us can take steps to make our homes and community safer.

“If you or someone close to you is supporting someone who may be considering suicide, there are resources to help right now,” Ebel said.

HIPRC and Forefront are sharing a new digital toolkit on suicide prevention and the safe storage of items such as firearms and prescription medications. The toolkit includes videos and information that emphasize the LEARN acronym of preventive steps: Look for signs, Empathize and listen, Ask directly about suicide, Remove the dangers, and take Next steps.

“Many youth and young adults are experiencing challenges and are at heightened risk of suicide right now. It’s crucial that we know when and how to support them,” said Jennifer Stuber, director and co-founder of Forefront Suicide Prevention. “Eliminating the possibility of suicide in your home starts with locking up large quantities’ of prescription and over the counter medications and ensuring that individuals who are thinking about suicide do not have easy access to any firearms temporarily.”

To observe National Injury Prevention Day, share via Twitter with the hashtags #BeInjuryFree or #NationalInjuryDayHIPRC. To join by shining a green light, tag @HIPRC and show how you’ve gone green.

– Written by Alexandra de Leon, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center

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Tags:childrensuicide preventionchild safety

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