The statistics speak for themselves:  An estimated 3,500 adolescents attempt suicide every day.  It ranks third as the overall cause of deaths in young people (nationally and in Louisiana).  Ninety percent of teenagers who die by suicide have a mental health problem, usually depression, substance abuse or both.

In a state that wages a daily struggle with hurricane recovery and all of the frustrations associated with it, these facts carry a frightening implication for our young adults.  In an effort to educate the public about these risks, Gov. Kathleen Blanco has declared the week of September 15 – 21 as “Yellow Ribbon Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week” in Louisiana.  Throughout the week, the Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention will be hosting events across the state to raise awareness and educate the public about suicide.

“Suicide affects more people than just the victim,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “We hope to use this week to spread the message that suicide can be prevented and that awareness is the key.”

The Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention operates through grant funding awarded to reduce suicidal behavior, particularly among hurricane survivors, in Louisiana.  The program is currently targeting approximately 10,000 young adults between the ages of 10 – 24 who are believed to be at an increased risk for suicide due to emotional and psychological problems while living in the hurricane impacted areas of Louisiana. 

The Partnership was originally known as the Louisiana Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force when it was first formed in 2000 out of DHH’s Office of Public Health – Louisiana Adolescent Health Initiative.  The mission of the Task Force was to develop a statewide plan on youth suicide prevention in Louisiana, to provide appropriate and timely help, and to improve access and availability of prevention services.  The Partnership formed as other agencies and groups became involved and collaborated with LDH on the effort.

For more information about the Louisiana Partnership for Youth Suicide Prevention or the events scheduled for Yellow Ribbon Week, contact Trina Evans Williams at (225) 342-9457 or tevans@dhh.la.gov.

See below for a list of the events being held during Yellow Ribbon Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Week.

Scheduled Events

Saturday, September 15

Youth “Out of the Darkness” Walk

At Parc Sans Souci

Corner of E. Vermilion and Polk St.

Lafayette, La  70501

8 a.m. Registration

9 a.m. 5K walk


Sunday, September 16

Lakeside Mall Suicide Prevention Poster Exhibit

3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Metairie, La.  70002

12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

(Near food court)

Monday – Wednesday, September 17 – 19

SAHMSA and Lifeline Crisis Center Conference

Hilton Riverside

2 Poydras St.

New Orleans, La.  70140

8 a.m. Registration

9 a.m. Conference

Wednesday, September 19

Essay and poster winners awards luncheon

First United Methodist Church

930 North Blvd.

Baton Rouge, La. 70802

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Thursday, September 20

Suicide Prevention Rally at State Capitol

Steps of the State Capitol

Baton Rouge, La.

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Friday, September 21

Suicide Prevention and Awareness Conference

Claiborne Building

Louisiana Purchase Room

1201 N. Third St.

Baton Rouge, La.  70802

8 a.m. Registration

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Conference