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Prevention Group Creates Survey to Help Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula Teens Struggling With Thoughts of Suicide

Sue Eastgard of the Gig Harbor & Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition has launched an anonymous survey to better understand the problem in Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula. The survey is open to the public.

From 2001 through 2010, nine teens from the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area have committed suicide, according to the Gig Harbor & Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition.

As a result, the Peninsula School District has been working to better understand the issue in the community.

Last June, the district hired Sue Eastgard, a retired director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, to form and facilitate the coalition.

The group, which includes local educators, students, parents, social service providers and law enforcements, is currently trying to interpret how big the problem is affecting the community.

“There is a stereotype of Gig Harbor being an affluent community, and yet that may be true more so within Gig Harbor, but when you take in Key Peninsula, it’s a different picture,” Eastgard said.

“We are really trying to address why are kids so depressed. Why do they feel so hopeless that they see no way out?”

As a way to learn more, Eastgard launched a short anonymous survey on the coalition website for community members to participate.

Click here to take the survey. (The survey will be available through February.)

While the coalition is still in its beginning stages, Eastgard hopes to get a better idea of what the community believes should be done to prevent suicidal behaviors in the community.

Among the different choices for possible solutions, the survey suggests more education on suicide prevention, address bullying and reducing academic expectations at school.

The coalition’s next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Jim and Carolyn Milgard Family HOPE Center at 9 a.m. in Gig Harbor. The group is open to the public.

Eastgard will also be hosting a training workshop for community members in University Place on Friday, Feb. 22. The three-hour safeTALK workshop teaches participants to recognize people with thoughts of suicide and to connect them to suicide first aid resources.

Click here or on the PDF for more information.

What would you like to see the coalition address regarding the teen suicide issue in Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula? Tell us in the comments section.
Sylvie McAlpine February 04, 2013 at 10:08 PM
There is a huge drug problem in the area!! That needs to be addressed!! What IS there for kids to do there?? It is so difficult for them to find work too.
Heather February 05, 2013 at 05:36 PM
The Red Barn just outside Key Center will be a safe gathering place for youth when it opens. It will give them a chance to be in a nurturing and caring environment. Other than the Red Barn and Skate Night, there is really not a lot for them to do...
Sylvie McAlpine February 05, 2013 at 06:09 PM
The Red Barn sounds great but I think that there is also a need for older youth..like ages 19, 20 and up. I hear a lot of talk that they just don't have anything to do. Partying is what they find, drinking, drugs and then get hooked and begin to commit crimes and become depressed. They feel their life has no meaning, no self worth which leads to thought of ending it all. It is a viscous cycle and the problem does exist everywhere..but in my experience with young people there...drugs are huge. Meth, Heroin, smoking pills...

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