Public Service Announcements to Help Prevent Teen Suicide

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), working in collaboration with the Ad Council and the Inspire USA Foundation, announced today the launch of a national public service announcement PSA campaign designed to reduce the incidence of suicide and suicide attempts among teens in the United States.

Suicide is a real issues in our nation and our youth are dying from this treatable epidemic. It is the third leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds. For every youth who died by suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 attempts are made.

"Suicide is a preventable tragedy," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. "That's why we have made it an explicit part of our top priority at SAMHSA - prevention of substance abuse and mental illness. We are aligning and bringing to bear the full force of our resources to reduce the risk and increase the protective factors that are linked with suicide. This new public service advertising campaign is a critical step in raising awareness among young people that there are places where they can turn for help."

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Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council stated, "Our new campaign with SAMHSA and Inspire USA connects with teens by identifying with the various challenges they are facing, while empowering them to cope by showing them how their peers have made it through," said Conlon. "These ads and our online resources will give teens hope and this campaign has the potential to save many lives."

SAMHSA and the Ad Council launched the Teen Suicide Prevention campaign In an effort to provide support for teens who may be thinking about suicide. The “We Can Help Us” effort includes television, radio, print and interactive PSAs, as well as in-school and mall posters, directed at 13-17 year-olds. The ads are designed with the understanding that teens face numerous problems and many are seeking effective ways to cope with them.

"Walk into any American high school classroom and the odds are that two of the young people before you will have attempted suicide over the past 12 months," said Jack Heath, president of the Inspire USA Foundation. "Through our collaboration with SAMSHA and the Ad Council, the We Can Help Us campaign can bring a message of hope to literally millions of young Americans having a tough time."

"At DDB, we were motivated to do our part to further awareness of the critically important issue of teen suicide," said Peter Hempel, president, DDB New York. "The campaign creative is very positive in tone, to give those affected a sense of hope at a very dark time in their lives," he added.

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