September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and New World Library asked me to review Beneath the Surface: A Teen’s Guide to Reaching Out When You or Your Friend Is in Crisis by Kristi Hugstad, their most recent release, which launched on September 10 in honor of World Suicide Prevention day.
(New World’s previous publications include The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain, and Correspondence, which is the letters of Joseph Campbell.)
Kristi knows about suicide from first-hand experience. In 2012, after years of struggling with clinical depression, her husband killed himself by running in front of a train. She wrote Beneath the Surface in hopes of helping to end the stigma around mental illness and suicide, and she describes it as an “educational suicide prevention tool for teens, parents, teachers, and anyone working with our youth.” In the book, she talks with, rather than down to, teens (and their parents and teachers), about issues like depression, eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety, bullying, substance abuse and suicide. And she encourages them to reach out for help when they need it.
On her website, The Grief Girl, Kristi writes, “Every day, 5,420 teens, grades 7 through 12, attempt suicide. While growing up has never been easy, today’s teens face a landscape that might be unrecognizable to their parents. In addition to cliques and peer pressure, they live in a fast-changing social media world that exposes and makes vulnerable as much as it shares and connects. Factor in mass shootings, terrorism, daily reports about climate change, and the prospect of college loan debt, and it’s no wonder that rates of teen depression, anxiety and suicide are soaring.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that there are more than 129 suicides each day in the US, and that the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men. Although Beneath the Surface focuses on teen mental illness and suicide, including real-life examples of young people who have suffered depression firsthand, Kristi offers insights into all age groups. She shares what she’s learned about risk factors and warning signs, and she offers practical exercises to help individuals identify whether they or someone they know are in need of help. And if so, what to do and where to go for it.
Depression can strike anyone – and the info in this book can save lives.
A version of this article was originally published on GracedeRond.com
Mental Health Resources
If you are suicidal or in crisis:
Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273-TALK (8255) to reach the 24-hour crisis center
Connect to Lifeline Crisis Chat at crisischat.org.
American Society for Suicide Prevention https://www.afsp.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Text NAMI to 741741.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
(800) 950–6264 Monday through Friday 10 am to 6 pm EST
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Photos provided by the author