Help is available for young people

Young people today deal with so much more stress than I had at your age. I want you to know how and where you can find help when you need it. I want you to know that you don&8217;t have to go it alone.

Drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and car accidents are taking you away from us at a frightening rate.

Some of the warning signs of suicide contemplation are:

-Becoming quiet, withdrawn.

-Sudden changes in behavior, personality, sleep patterns and eating habits.

-A loss of interest in friends, hobbies and activities previously enjoyed.

-Recent family changes such as moving to a new area or school.

-Losses such as death, divorce, end of relationship, job or money.

-Feeling of hopelessness, fear of losing control, helplessness or overwhelming guilt.

Even though you think that no one else can understand what you are going through, give someone the chance to help. Talk to someone. If that doesn&8217;t work, talk to someone else. Keep trying, don&8217;t give up! There are so many resources out there &8212; a parent, sibling, coach, pastor, best friend or neighbor.

No alchohol or drug use! Involvement in drug and alcohol abuse impairs your judgment, makes you more impulsive, the cumulative losses can lead to addiction and/or affect your functioning and thinking processes. Remember, anytime you ingest, inject or inhale something that you are not supposed to, you are taking a chance of becoming a death statistic.

Pay attention when driving a vehicle. Obey traffic laws. No speeding, talking on the cell phone, loud music or rowdy passengers. Be aware of other vehicles around you. Accidents can happen so quickly.

One of the many reasons for my concern for you is that you are so very important to your family, your friends, your neighborhood and your world! Without you life would never be the same. You are our future, and we need you here to take care of our world.

Please consider what I have said in these few paragraphs. Too often I have the unfortunate job of taking care of you after its too late. Anything that I can do or say to possibly change the outcome is my duty. Below are important numbers for help when you don&8217;t know where to turn. Even if you don&8217;t feel you need them, keep them for a friend. Parents, cut them out and keep them somewhere visible.

– Crisis and Suicide Line, 323-7777.

– Teen Link Line, 328-LINK (5465).

– Kids Help Line, 328-KIDS (5437).

– Suicide Bereavement Group, 323-7777.

– Crisis Center web site, www.crisiscenterbham.com.

Diana S. Hawkins is coroner of Shelby County and mother to a 22-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son. She can be reached at 669-3846