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Advocates Push to Reduce Indiana's Teen Suicide Rate

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A new report says Indiana’s rate of teenagers considering suicide in the last year is the worst in the nation.  And the rate of Hoosier teenagers attempting suicide is second highest in the country. 

Now, suicide prevention advocates are working to make inroads at the Statehouse, preparing lawmakers to deal with the issue.

Lisa Brattain got involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention about eight years ago after she lost her son to suicide.  She says her call to action came from looking at the organized efforts to combat illnesses such as breast cancer and heart disease. 

Brattain says much of her work since then has focused on building an informed community.

“That can have a healthy conversation about mental health and suicide so that it’s not stigmatized and difficult to talk about,” Brittain says.

And while conversation among legislators surrounding the need for more mental health resources often has to do with helping treat addiction, Brattain acknowledges some of the root causes of the state’s high suicide rates play into that issue.

“Because of lack of resources or lack of supports or inability to access insurance or the funds to pay for treatment,” Brittain says.

Brattain adds while her organization doesn’t have legislation to promote this session, she’s hoping the efforts made this year to educate lawmakers will pay dividends when there are more specific policy proposals in the near future.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.