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Tough Topics

This guide offers local services and resources covering a variety of community needs, including suicide, substance abuse, sexual assault, gender identity, as well as many others.

From the PPLD Collection

I'm Suicidal, Now What?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of ten and twenty-four. People who try to take their lives usually do not want to die, but they see no alternatives to stop their endless mental and emotional suffering. This resource educates teens about risk factors, suicidal thoughts, and how to cope with them. Through medication, counseling, and other tools, most people who seriously consider suicide are able to recover and go on to lead healthy, adaptive lives


Explore the issue of suicide with expert opinions in a pro/con format and encourage critical thinking. Includes discussion questions, bibliography and respected sources.

Healing Suicidal Veterans

Healing Suicidal Veterans takes readers firsthand into the "situation room" where crisis intervention and addiction therapist Victor Montgomery explores the psychological wounds of war and the ways they contribute to the tragedy of suicidal veterans.

Cracked, Not Broken

At 19 years old, Kevin attempted to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge - a distance which took four seconds to fall. Recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, Kevin had begun to hear voices telling him he had to die, and days before his attempt, he began to believe them. The fall would break his body, but not his spirit.

Hello, Cruel World

Celebrated transsexual trailblazer Kate Bornstein bravely and wittily shares personal and unorthodox methods of survival in an often cruel world in this much-needed unconventional approach to teenage suicide prevention for marginalised youth who want to stay on the edge, but alive. Features 101 alternatives to suicide that range from the playful (moisturise), to the irreverent (disbelieve the binary), to the highly controversial (get laid, please). Bornstein fervently encourages readers to give themselves permission to unleash their hearts' desires.

Eight Stories Up

Part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written specifically for teens and young adults, Eight Stories Up offers hope to young people who are at risk of suicide, extending a lifeline of support and guidance that can save their lives.

After a Parent's Suicide

The premature death of a parent can be devastating for young children- with the consequences far more profound when the parent dies by suicide. Amidst the resulting grief, turmoil and confusion, the surviving parent is faced with the monumental task of tending to the emotional lives of the children left behind. In this instructive and impassioned work, longtime childrens bereavement counselor and psychotherapist Margo Requarth, M.A., M.F.T., charts the complex emotional waters every family must navigate in the wake of a previously unimaginable suicide death

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide

Source: Well Cast

An essential first step in preventing Teen Suicide is to recognize the warning signs and knowing how to respond. From the El Paso County Department of Public Health:

Recognize the warning signs

  • Talking about dying
  • Recent loss (death, divorce in family, broken relationship, etc.)
  • Change in: personality, behavior, sleep patterns, eating habits.
  • Fear of losing control
  • Low self-esteem
  • No hope for the future

Understand how to get help for a youth at-risk for suicide

  • Express concern
  • Ask directly about suicide
  • Encourage them to seek help (hotlines, crisis services, mental health services, etc.)
  • Involve an adult they trust
  • Call 911 for immediate concerns about safety

Local Resources

Below the Surface

Below the surface is a crisis text line for teens that recognizes the fine line between feeling OK and not OK. It's free, confidential, and, since every struggle is different, personal. All counselors are trained to help texters deals with their unique situation.

Click Here for more information on the program and FAQs.

Just text TALK to 38255 or call 1-844-493-8255 if you are unable to text to connect with a counselor.

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