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R U OK?
Every day, 5,420 teens grades 7 through 12 attempt suicide.
If that number scares you, it should. Today’s teens have a lot to deal with – from peer pressure to substance abuse to technology addiction, online bullying and gender confusion. Sometimes, all they really need is for someone to ask a simple question: R U OK?
My newest book, R U OK?, speaks candidly to teens about depression, suicide and the issues they face every day. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in young people aged 10 to 24, and the vast majority of suicides are completed by people struggling with depression or other mental illnesses. By asking these three simple words to a friend of family member, “R U OK?” offers struggling teens an opportunity to ask for the help they so desperately need.
I have first hand experience with clinical depression, substance abuse and suicide. My husband, Bill, completed suicide by running in front of a train in Dana Point where we lived. In R U OK?, I use my story – and those of teens with whom I’ve worked – as teaching tools. The book includes discussion questions to help readers identify risk factors and warning signs of depression and suicide.
Above all, R U OK? offers readers a message of hope – a promise that they are not alone, that they can overcome their situation and that there are resources available to help them now.
Kristi Hugstad’s presentation to the Health students at Dana Hills High School was very moving and informative. She brought her first hand expertise and personal insight when living with a person who is experiencing the ill-effects of substance-related disorders, specifically steroid use. Her story demonstrates the importance of recognizing the signs of mental illness; including paranoia, depression and suicide. Kristi’s natural ability to interact and connect with high school students was inspiring to witness. Her catch phrase and the title of her book “R U OK?”, captures the essence of her message. Our Health students were captivated with her story and many students expressed that her message was heard loud and clear. Thank you Kristi, for sharing such a painful event, and turning this personal tragedy into a lesson to be remembered.
Jeanette Boyle | DHHS Health Educator, Dana Point, CA
"I wanted to reach out to thank for everything you do to help our teens. Coming to speak to our students at San Clemente High School about it being ok to not be ok. That there is SO much hope and help. Powerful message for those feeling scared of whats in their head. You are making a difference! Thank you for all you do! "
Angie Tisdale - San Clemente High School Health
If you or your teen needs more information, resources or immediate help, please know it’s available! The following toll-free hotlines are available to help 24/7:
Teenline (This is a crisis hotline for teens to talk to other teens): 800-TLC-TEEN
AFSP American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
Trevor Lifeline (Crisis line for LGBTQ youth): 866-488-7386
Bullying Hotline: 800-273-8255
National Eating Disorder Association: 800-931-2237
National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Hotline: 877-437-8422