BRONX, NY – For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing around 4,600 young people each year (cdc.gov). In October, Truman students took part in a special program on Teen Suicide Prevention.
Fordham University’s WFUV-FM Radio hosts a special campaign each year called “Strike a Chord.” This year, in addition to broadcasting the program on the radio, WFUV teamed up with BronxNET television to bring the discussion to cable television and the Internet. Truman’s students were part of a live studio audience who watched the discussion, and participated in a question-and-answer session at the end.
“It was interesting,” said Truman sophomore Daniella Dominguez. “It was good because I have had friends who came to me [about suicide]. I got information on who I can tell and who I can talk to about that friend.”
BronxNET’s Youth Media Coordinator Marisa White stressed the importance of including teenagers in the discussion.
“We thought it would be an excellent opportunity for students to participate in something in an informal way, so it was a way of getting a message across both directly and indirectly,” White said. “Having the students in the studio would be a good opportunity to provide outside-the-classroom instruction, present this material to them, and have them participate in something where they can choose if they want to pose a question or not.”
Panelists included Dr. Rosa Gil, Executive Director, Comunilife, Jill Harkavy-Friedman, Vice President of Research, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Allyee Whaley, Crisis Services Coordinator of Operations for the Lifeline at the Trevor Project. It was moderated by George Bodarky, the News Director of WFUV-FM Radio at Fordham.
“I was looking forward to getting some knowledge on why teenagers are depressed,” said sophomore Quincee Tellis. “They [experts] seemed very informed.”
“You have kids who may be at risk but don’t want to say they are at risk,” White added.