Preventing teen suicides is the focus of a new public-service effort launched this week by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration in collaboration with the Ad Council and the Inspire USA Foundation. The effort, "We Can Help Us," produced pro bono by DDB New York, is targeted at reducing the number of suicides and suicide attempts by U.S. teens.
According to SAMHSA, suicide is the third-leading cause of deaths among 15-to-24-year-olds, after unintended injuries and homicide. It accounts for 12% of deaths in this age group, compared with 1.4% of all U.S. deaths annually. For every young person who dies by suicide, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts were made.
The new Teen Suicide Prevention campaign includes TV, radio, print, online and in-school and mall posters. The effort puts out the message that teens face many problems and that they aren't alone in dealing with emotional and mental health issues. They are directed to visit www.reachout.com, a website developed by Inspire USA, which promotes mental health and well-being to young people.
"At DDB, we were motivated to do our part to further awareness of the critically important issue of teen suicide," said Peter Hempel, president of DDB New York, in announcing the effort. "The campaign creative is very positive in tone, to give those affected a sense of hope at a very dark time in their lives."
To further extend the message, the Ad Council and SAMHSA will work with such organizations as Students Against Destructive Decisions and National Organizations for Youth Safety.