Teenage suicide prevention is never an easy topic for a community to talk about. But we’re hopeful that the recent passage of Lauryn’s Law will make that conversation a little bit easier.
What is Lauryn’s Law?
Lauryn’s Law requires school counselors in Maryland to receive regular training so that they can recognize the signs of mental distress in adolescents. The goal is to create another gateway for preventing suicide among teens in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Howard County, and elsewhere across Maryland
Who Was Lauryn?
Lauryn Santiago was a beautiful, intelligent young woman who died by suicide in 2013. She was just fifteen years old – a high school freshman – at the time of her passing. Lauryn’s mother, Linda Diaz, is now a volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which supports the signing of Lauryn’s Law.
What Can We Learn from Lauryn’s Law?
Lauryn passed away in Prince George’s County, but her story sends a message to counselors, teachers, parents, and adolescents across Maryland.
(1) Mental distress in teens is a growing problem.
Mental health advocates, including Lauryn’s mother, have identified teen suicide as an “epidemic.” While that doesn’t mean that teen suicide rates will necessarily increase in Maryland, it does mean that community members should try to learn potential suicide warning signs.
(2) It’s difficult to predict whether suicide could affect your family.
Lauryn’s mother probably never expected to be advocating for the AFSP. No parent ever wants to imagine that his or her child could one day die by suicide – much less as a teenager. Lauryn’s story teaches us that all teenagers are potentially vulnerable to mental distress, and that’s why it’s important to be prepared.
(3) Teenage suicide prevention takes a community-wide effort.
In just three years, the number of states requiring mental health training for school counselors has increased from 9 to 23. Communities everywhere are taking a more active approach to preventing death by suicide among teens. We’re glad that communities in Maryland are doing the same.
The Role of Your Child’s Support Team
When it comes to teenage suicide prevention, the burden doesn’t fall on parents alone. Lauryn’s Law has created an even wider safety net for adolescents across Maryland as their school counselors are now required to learn common signs of mental distress.
Don’t forget that every adult your child interacts with – including sports coaches, youth leaders, physicians, and others – play a role in his or her mental health. Physician referrals to The Family Center are always welcome, whether for anxiety, depression, grief and loss, or other mental health concerns.
How The Family Center is Helping to Prevent Teen Suicide in Maryland
Our therapists have vast experience helping teens cope with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and impulse control disorders such as skin picking and hair pulling. We take a solutions-oriented approach to a variety of treatments, including individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatric services and more.
For more information about teenage suicide prevention in Maryland, call The Family Center today at (410) 531-5087.