WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — September 10 observes World Suicide Prevention Day and advocates in the North Country are working to let children, teens and young adults know that they are not alone.

Child Fatality Review Team Coordinator Amy Canniff at the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County works with these cases everyday. She said that in 2021 there have been two deaths by suicide in the three-county region, a number she said is “two too many.”

“It is close to our hearts [at the Victims Assistance Center],” Caniff shared. “Because these kids could be helped and their deaths could have been prevented.”

Caniff added that teens are most at risk as suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 24. This risk jumps for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Caniff said that there are three times as many suicide attempts for those who identify as LGBTQ+, and eight times as many attempts for those who have identified themselves in the community and not been accepted by their parents.

She said reaching out to teens children and teens is the first thing any family member, loved one or friend should do if they are concerned.

“We want friends and family members to just be cognizant. If a kid looks different to them than they did before, if they seem withdrawn, if they seem depressed, Just talk to them,” Caniff said.

She concluded by expressing, “There are many resources available. You just have to be willing to ask. You always find someone to talk to, and if you are not comfortable talking to a parent or a friend, just give me a call.”

Below are resources available for individuals, family or friends seeking support in the North Country:

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
  • New York Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741
  • Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County: 315-782-1855
  • REACHOUT of St. Lawrence County, Inc.: 315-265-2422
  • North Country Transitional Living Services Mobile Crisis Services: 315- 782-2327
  • Emergency situations, call 911