Along with providing many services to children who have experienced abuse, abandonment or neglect, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) also has significant prevention programs in place.
According to Jasie Landeros, who heads up the prevention department as ECCAC’s Outreach Program Manager, “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our ability to go into the schools, we have had to temporarily put our Child Safety Matters programs on hold in Okaloosa and Walton County schools. Given the times, we are instituting monthly prevention programs, focusing on a different topic each month. In September, our focus will be on calling attention to suicide prevention for children, teens and young adults. It coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness, September 6 – 12.”
It is a proven fact during this pandemic, that depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts are on the increase. Unfortunately, regardless of the pandemic situation, suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24.
The JasonFoundation.com and BetterHealth.vic.gov.au have compiled key facts related to suicide in younger people:
- 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
- Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts, which may manifest in the following ways:
- Declining grades and school performance.
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and relationships.
- Talking a lot about death and suicide (even jokingly).
- Previous suicide attempts.
- Final Arrangements.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Saying goodbye to friends and family.
- Regularly self-harming.
- Doing dangerous/life threatening things.
Since school is being conducted in many different formats now, and young children and teens may not have access to teachers and counselors who can recognize suicidal tendencies, it is especially important for parents to be aware. Self-care and mental health awareness is critical, especially in these unprecedented times, and especially for children and youth. ECCAC will be providing additional data and information via their website and social media.
ECCAC is in its 20th year in operation this year with centers in Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. They have provided over 150,000 services at no cost for children experiencing abuse, abandonment or neglect to include mental health therapy, crisis intervention, referrals to other community providers, interviews and medicals to more than 14,000 children and their families.
For further information, visit www.eccac.org, or email or call Jasie Landeros at Jasie@eccac.org, 8i50-833-9237, Ext. 267. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.
ECCAC’s September prevention program will focus on suicide, the
leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24.