Leslie Weirich: Spreading Hope to Stop Youth Suicide

Leslie Weirich: Spreading Hope to Stop Youth Suicide

Episode 006

Leslie Weirich knows a mother’s worse kind of grief — four years ago she and her husband lost their son Austin, who took his own life in his junior year in college. And like many parents, they never saw it coming.

To the surprise of many, suicide is the second highest cause of death in those ages 10-24, second only to accidental death according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Since 2009, the age-adjusted suicide death rate has increased for all races and ethnicities.

In this episode, learn how Leslie decided to do something about the epidemic of youth suicide in her state of Indiana with a focus on hope and teaching resilience. For the past two years, she’s been traveling throughout her community speaking with children and teens, teachers, and parents and helping strengthen the area’s responses to mental health challenges of young people, conditions which have only become worse during the pandemic.

Learn how students respond to Leslie’s story and ideas for creating a safety net for their own mental health. Leslie explains how to spot possible mental health issues in your own child and the best ways to explore, listen, and respond. And she talks about ways we can all work to stop the stigma of suicide as a taboo topic so it can be addressed directly.

Leslie Wierich recently left her career as a financial recruiter to work on this issue full time. She has joined the Oaklawn Psychiatric Center as their first Suicide Prevention Specialist for two Indiana counties.