DC nonprofit SADD launches campaign to save lives

The organization began focusing on educating teens about suicide in 1997 and has since supported student mental health through its 8,000 chapters across the country.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the DC SADD nonprofit, Students Against Destructive Decisions, has launched a new campaign to support teens while providing resources for parents.

The organization began focusing on educating teens about suicide in 1997 and has since supported student mental health through its 8,000 chapters across the country.



“There has never been a more important time for young people to feel like they belong and matter, especially as we continue to recover from the wake of COVID-19,” said Rick Birt, President of the association.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 young people currently struggle with a diagnosable mental health issue.

“We really have a mental health epidemic,” Birt said.

Looking at the district, he said there has been an increase in students reporting thoughts of self-harm. The number of teens engaging in risky behaviors has also increased in the DC metro area.

“It’s all tied to the declining mental health of our young people,” Birt said.

The nonprofit now focuses on providing resources and training tools for students looking to manage their own mental health or for those looking to support their peers.

The campaign also includes a toolkit for parents, which includes conversation starters, a step-by-step guide to what signs to look out for and when to seek professional help.

“We think it’s really important for everyone to know how to take care of their mental health like they would their physical health,” Birt said.

You can access the resources on the SADD website.

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