Saving Lives: Preventing Youth Suicide

Suicide in this nation is reaching epidemic proportions. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide affects people of all ages. But in Michigan, there has been an alarming 33 percent increase in death by suicide in the past 20 years among young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Yet, Michigan remains one of only 17 states without mandated teaching training in suicide prevention.

Something needs to be one. And Detroit Public TV – in collaboration with the Children’s Foundation and Kevin’s Song – launched an initiative to bring attention to this urgent issue and to rally support among those in the lives of youth to battle this mental health crisis.

We are gathering experts in the field, educators, counselors and the survivors of suicide who will share their personal stories for an open and earnest conversation.

If you are interested in upcoming events, please subscribe to our newsletter.

National Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR TEXT “GO” TO 741741


We Can’t Wait Any Longer

For students, the families who love them and the educators who interact with them almost daily, there is an alarming issue – the soaring incidence of youth suicide.

The suicide rate for teens in Michigan has doubled over the past decade. It is now the second leading cause of death among our youth.

“Saving Lives: We Can’t Way Any Longer” – the third in a series on youth suicide from Detroit Public TV, in conjunction with The Children’s Foundation and the Kevin’s Song, a local nonprofit devoted to the cause – focuses on schools and what our education system can do to help students struggling with depression and other issues that can lead to suicide.

At this moment, our community finds itself in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although its full impact on the mental health of our youth is yet to be known, it does add another layer of stress and anxiety to those already at risk.

Even during difficult times like these, educators play a major role in the lives of students. Working closely with parents and families, they can identify individuals needing help and intervene in a timely and caring manner.

But that’s not so say it is an easy task. In this DPTV documentary, host Cynthia Canty talks to school administrators and other educators about their approaches to suicide prevention, the programs and practices that have proven effective and what resources they need to ensure the mental health and well-being of their students.

Featured are leading experts and advocates in the field:

  • Dr. Brian Ahmedani, Chair of the Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission
  • Alycia Meriweather, Deputy Superintendent of Detroit Public School Community District
  • Seth Hoopingarner, Principal of Ishpeming Middle and High School
  • JoJo Klinger, a parent who lost a son to suicide and has been active in the cause of suicide prevention ever since
  • Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, an author and educator, who has worked to reduce trauma and teen suicide, particularly in urban schools
  • Patrick Watson, Superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools

This crucial conversation is part of a yearlong campaign by Detroit Public Television, Kevin’s Song and The Children’s Foundation to shine a light of compassion and understanding on an issue that has too long remained in the shadows.


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