YAC members making cards

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24 in the US. Nearly 20 percent of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide, and 9 percent have tried to take their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. YAC members learned of a program sponsored by Crittenton Children’s Center, a program of Saint Luke’s Hospital, and jumped at the chance to do something special for a local teen struggling with their mental health.

When children age 4-18 are admitted to the hospital at Crittenton, they are considered a danger to themselves or others. Whatever reason that brings them in for help, Crittenton is well-equipped to provide treatment and care for the child and family.

Evidence shows that when someone has been admitted to a hospital because of suicidal thoughts the possibility of a reoccurrence is lessened when the person receives a handmade handwritten card shortly after discharge. It is a thoughtful reminder of how very special they are and that their presence matters. At their monthly meeting, YAC members gathered construction paper, colored pencils, markers, and compassionate hearts to create a variety of wonderfully thoughtful and uplifting cards.

YAC members making cards

After discharge, one of the Crittenton staff will choose a card, and staff from that child’s treatment team sign it (with their first names only). It will be mailed to the child as a simple reminder of all the people who care for them and believe they are worth it. Several children who have received these cards have told the Crittenton staff how much they mean to them.

So many cards!

And it meant a lot to the YAC student creating them too. Many of our own YAC members know someone or have heard about someone in their school who has considered suicide or practiced self-harm. The Foundation is proud of the way our YAC members are so proactive in finding ways to engage with and help their peers. It is this type of creative philanthropy that is a hallmark of this generation, and we feel good knowing they will continue their giving into adulthood.