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What Acadia wants you to know about youth mental health

Acadia-CARES-Teen-Suicide-v6-G.jpg“No one cares about me.”           
               “I feel so alone.”
“It’s never going to get any better.”
How many times have we as parents heard our kids utter these phrases. Is it typical teen angst or something more serious? The fact is, 15 percent of Maine high school students and 17 percent of Maine middle school students reported seriously considering suicide at some point in their lives. Youth mental health issues affect our local Maine communities, and that is why Acadia Hospital recently launched its first video in a series on youth mental health issues, called Acadia Hospital CARES (Child-Adolescent Resource and Educational Series).

This video project is designed to educate adults about important youth mental health and wellness topics. The first video addresses youth suicide prevention and features many of our own Acadia experts, as well as some children of Acadia’s employees.

It is unthinkable for any parent to believe that their child would contemplate suicide. Difficult as it may be, talking to them about these feelings could save their life. Jennifer Parks, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with Acadia’s Inpatient Pediatric Services, reassures parents and adults, “You’re not going to give them the idea to have suicidal thoughts by asking. I would rather ask one hundred times than not ask one time.”

Mark Allen, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Acadia Hospital medical director of Pediatric Inpatient Services, hopes the video series will empower and inform the community to talk about youth mental health issues. “Unfortunately, youth suicide has been touching our community, and this video in particular, helps parents or teachers know what to do if they see a youth in crisis.”

In the near future, Acadia will be adding “frequently asked questions” videos to its website  about suicide prevention. Additional CARES videos addressing topics such as eating disorders, anxiety, bullying, and others, will be available later this year along with corresponding FAQ videos.

Alan Comeau, director of Acadia Hospital Communications says, “If young people are struggling with mental health issues, we know the sooner they receive professional treatment, the better their long-term results will be. One way to ensure early access to treatment is by educating the adults who interact with them, and we hope the Acadia Hospital CARES videos can be a source for vital information.”

View the video and project page at:

If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else, please contact:
Maine Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112
Crisis Text Line: 741741
For additional resources, visit:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Take Acadia Hospital’s free, confidential mental health screening