U Matter suicide prevention helps teens in crisis

"I'm currently 900 days clean from self-harm," said Jenna Friedman, a U Matter teen board member.

And now Friedman, 18, is helping others stay safe, stay healthy, and stay alive. All are well-aware that suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens - so many of whom are also struggling with mental health issues.

"Knowing that I'm not alone and other people are fighting for what I'm fighting for, is so important," said Friedman.

Jenna had dealt with anxiety and depression and engaging in unhealthy behaviors. But when she found the U Matter suicide prevention program through The Friendship Circle in West Bloomfield - she found help for herself and a way to help others.

"We need more people doing that - letting people know that struggle is real, but solution is real, and there are keys to solution," said Rabbi Yarden Blumstein.

The U Matter program has been in schools and working with youth groups and companies for the last few years. The training lasts just three hours - the lessons learned not only last a lifetime - but can save a life.

"They have a fascinating statistic that every five people trained, is two successful interventions in the first 90 days," said Blumstein.

Blumstein does the training for Safe Talk which he calls the CPR of mental health, helping people recognize signs someone might be suicidal and how to intervene.

"You have to ask someone, 'Are you suicidal, are you thinking about hurting yourself, can you be safe right now?'" said Friedman. "Because without asking that, they beat around the bush a lot. It happens more than people think."

Jenna is on the teen board for the U Matter program which is now going to be available to even more people for free, thanks to a $750,000 grant from the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety.

Kukes took his own life in 2009 after struggling with social anxiety for years. At U Matter they don't want to see that happen to anyone else.

U Matter has very cool activities coming up in March - but you don't have to wait that long, to learn more about this valuable program. U Matter is urging anyone wanting more information - to contact the friendship circle...

"We know we've saved many lives," said Rabbi Levi Shemtov. "The more people we train - the more lives we can save."


Go to The Friendship Circle website here and to contact The Friendship Circle, click here.