Advocacy (advəkəsē), n.- to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.
This year, the New Jersey District Board has chosen the 2017-18 Advocacy Focus to be Teen Suicide with an Emphasis on Bullying. Many people know that Teen Suicide exists and many people know that many teens suffer from bullying everyday, but what many people fail to recognize is the impact that is has in their own community and the steps that can be taken in order to fight this issue. The first step to making a difference is awareness.
Suicide is remains the third leading cause of death for youth in New Jersey. According to the New Jersey Youth Suicide Report from the New Jersey Department for Children and Families, 269 youth between the ages of 10-24 successfully committed suicide between 2013-2015. Not only this, but between these same years, 2,731 youth in New Jersey were treated in hospital emergency rooms because of suicide attempts or self-inflicted injury. Nationally, New Jersey’s suicide rate was one of the lowest, but in the last couple years, has increased upwards of 13 percent to tie for the second highest suicide rate in the United States. Teen Suicide has become an extremely underrated floating in a sea of false information and stereotypes, but in reality, Teen Suicide is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in New Jersey and each case is different in its own reasoning and complexity.
So why might a teen decide to commit suicide? There are a number a different reasons why a teen might decide to take their own life, but one of the more prevalent causes of teen suicide specifically is bullying. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. And according to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. One of the ways to bring advocacy to the problem of Teen Suicide is to bring awareness to one of its root sources. Although bullying is not the only cause of Teen Suicide, the bullying that many teens receive in their adolescent years is one of the main causes of feelings such as anxiety and depression that can lead to suicidal thoughts. Many people do not realize that it is their own actions that have the potential to lift somebody up or to bring somebody down.
You have the power to help. Help the New Jersey District of Key Club support the fight against Teen Suicide by raising awareness and distributing the promotional materials to your club and school that will provided by the New Jersey District of Key Club throughout the upcoming service year. Promotional material will be sent out to all the Key Clubs as it becomes available. Key Clubs are not expected to complete any service hours or raise any funds for the Advocacy Focus, but are expected to help in the effort to raise awareness. Awareness is the first step to making a difference. In the upcoming service year, help New Jersey Key Club break the stigmas surrounding Teen Suicide and Bullying and bring attention to those around us on the seriousness of this issue.
This year, the Advocacy committee has been working hard to create flyers every month to bring awareness to noteworthy organizations. Check out our past flyers and spread the word to your clubs!!!