The State of Vermont, in cooperation with the United Ways of Vermont, maintains an extensive website to combat suicide in Vermont youths. The Vermont Youth Suicide Prevention website, UMatterUCanGetHelp.com, is funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The website educates on the sad reality of suicide, and provides information to youths considering the act. The website advertises the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The lifeline is administered by the United Ways of Vermont and can be accessed by dialing 2-1-1 or (800)273.TALK.
The Vermont Youth Suicide Prevention website states the following;
“Did you know that in Vermont, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth aged 11-23? Or that in the past year 22% of Vermont middle school students struggled with severe depression and 8.5% of high school students attempted suicide?”
The website further mentions the impact of suicide on those around us by suggesting, “You also might want to consider that each suicide death intimately and profoundly affects at least six people.”
This information makes clear that suicide is a HUGE PROBLEM in Vermont, and that suicide is not just an individual act but that it deeply affects the people around each of us.
This begs the questions…Why in the world would the State of Vermont consider passing legislation that would uphold suicide as “dignified.” Laws legitimizing suicide as an acceptable option to difficult circumstances send a horrible message to our young Vermonters. Public policy should never promote death nor suicide as a legitimate or superior option. This is a dangerous social gamble that would establish a confusing and contradictory suicide policy in our state.