National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


ECCAC Offers Children’s Prevention Programs

By Kay Phelan

Along with providing many services to children who have experienced abuse, abandonment or neglect, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) also has significant prevention programs in place. According to Jasie Landeros, who heads up the prevention department as ECCAC’s Outreach Program Manager, “In September, our focus will be on calling attention to suicide prevention for children, teens and young adults. It coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness, September 6 – 12.”

It is a proven fact during this pandemic, that depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts are on the increase. Unfortunately, regardless of the pandemic situation, suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24.
The and have compiled key facts related to suicide in younger people: Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs; depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts, which can manifest in ways such as declining grades and school performance, lack of interest in activities once enjoyed, withdrawal from family, friends and relationships, talking a lot about death and suicide (even jokingly), previous suicide attempts, final arrangements, giving away prized possessions, saying goodbye to friends and family, regularly self-harming, doing dangerous/life threatening things.

ECCAC is in its 20th year covering Okaloosa and Walton counties and has provided more than 150,000 services at no cost for children experiencing abuse, abandonment or neglect to include mental health therapy, crisis intervention, referrals to other community providers, interviews and medicals to more than 14,000 children and their families. For further information, visit, or email or call Jasie Landeros at, 850-833-9237, Ext. 267. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.