As the COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to infect at warp speed … school districts in New Jersey and around the country are resorting to returning to virtual/remote learning.

This is a big mistake.

Youth suicide in New Jersey and in America is an alarming problem; further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past two years have been a very challenging time for all age demographics … but, we need to focus our attention on how young people are doing … in New Jersey and throughout America.

How have they managed being away from their friends and other family members for extended periods? Have they been able to adjust to the necessary changes that have taken place at school, along with alterations and discontinuation of certain extra and co-curricular activities?

There’s also been a difficult “Yo Yo” effect to deal with. First, the basic instruction was, “Get the COVID-19 vaccine and the pandemic is over for you.”

Then, persistent variants occurred and this was no longer the case. The stop and go pace has been challenging for many to navigate.

Whether some realize it or not, it affects your overall psychology and it’s understandable that it can lead to mood swings.

It’s affected young persons in different ways. Some have managed the dramatic changes extraordinary well. For others, it’s been difficult to debilitating.

Some students have thrived in the changing classroom. Others have struggled.

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My Townsquare Media New Jersey colleague Dino Flammia, from New Jersey 101.5 has done great work on this important topic.

Here is a link to some of Dino’s work, it’s excellent and I know that you’ll find it very helpful.

Read Dino Flammia: Youth suicide — the alarming numbers in New Jersey

Here is a reminder about just how significant of an issue that youth suicide is.

In New Jersey, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among youth between 10 and 24 years of age. That’s a breath-taking statistic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 291 individuals aged 10 to 24 died by suicide between 2016 and 2018 in the Garden State, for a rate of 5.7 per 100,000. The rate was 4.1 per 100,000 in the state from 2007 to 2009 (211 suicides), CDC data show.

This demonstrates that the problem has escalated over the past decade.

We need to do more. We must educate. We must learn to effectively communicate on this subject, no matter how much it hurts.

It is my belief that this is such a disturbing topic, that most people simply don’t want to talk about it.

However, as the alarming statistics show, you can’t ignore this problem away. It must be tackled head on.

We need to learn what to look for. We must develop the skills and compassion to effectively help people that are hurting so bad … that taking their own life is potentially more appealing than choosing to live.

There are support groups and survivors of suicide support groups available to help. Dino covers this very well in his important piece, a link to which is embedded above in this article.

Here are some helpful resources to keep at your ready reference. Young people are said to be more likely to text or use chat options when they decide to reach out for help.

If your life or someone else's life is in imminent danger, please call 911.

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