This episode contains content related to suicide that may be triggering to some listeners.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is in distress, please dial 988 in the United States for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls to 988 are toll-free.
Kevin Kuczo was an all-American kid. He played Lacrosse, worked hard at school, and volunteered with a local church youth group. He was a great friend, teammate and student; he took great pride in his grades. He was generous and kind; someone who would do anything to help others. Kevin did his best to juggle the demands and pressures of high school – AP classes, fitting in, living life on social media. Then in early 2020, like so many teens, Kevin struggled with the isolation and social dislocation wrought by the global pandemic. He saw a therapist and a doctor prescribed antidepressants. Kevin’s depression seemed to moderate, but tragically, in February of 2021, he took his own life. He was 17.
Confronted by the devastating loss of their son, Jim and Kristen Kuczo decided to honor Kevin by dedicating themselves to raising awareness about depression and other mental health issues that can lead to suicide. They created Kevin’s Afterglow, a non-profit advocacy organization to build a lasting legacy for Kevin. Through their work, they are doing their part to save lives, helping other families avoid the pain they have suffered. Jim speaks with high school and middle school students, sports teams, teachers and parents about recognizing the early warning signs and asking the right questions. Through his talks, he emphasizes the importance of kindness, asking for help, checking in, and taking care of one another.
Teen Suicides: What Are the Risk Factors? Nadine Kaslow, PhD, Child Mind Institute, March 6, 2023
Teen Girls Report Record Levels of Sadness, C.D.C. Finds, Azeen Ghorayshi and Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, February 13, 2023
U.S. Depression Rates Reach New Highs, Dan Witters, Gallup News, May 17, 2023
Suicide in Children and Teens, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
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