276 N. El Camino Real, #184
Oceanside CA 92058


(760) 298-8146
(760) 216-1353

Back to main page

Why schedule Steve Stewart to speak on teen suicide prevention? June 2014

Steve Stewart brings a unique combination to the table.

1. Personal experience. Steve's son, Travis, committed suicide at the age of 19. Steve reluctantly stands where we all hope you never will. Steve has decades of practice at dealing with the horrific and he wants to give you the lessons without the experience.

2. Steve has 30 years of experience as a professional speaker, addressing audiences for 30 years on marketing topics with 3,500 speeches and workshops across North America and Western Europe.

3. As an author, Steve has sold 1.25 million books and 3+ million audio recordings since 1986. His next book is due late this fall, Teen Suicide Prevention, is written directly to and about American teens.

We don't know of any other speaker on the subject of teen suicide who has this combination of experiences. No one we know comes to this FROM personal suicide experience, combined with professional speaking experience.

(And we hope they never do ...)

When Steve's son, Travis, took his own life at the age of 19, the topic of suicide became literally unspeakable. It took seven years just to say this aloud in the presence of others.

However, the truth is that talking openly and honestly about teen suicide reduces the chance that the other teens will attempt taking their own lives. Talking about suicide de-mystifies it, moving it away from available options when a teen with a borderline desire to end the pain considers this pointless, painful option. Remember, they don't think like we do.

How dangerous is the problem of teen suicide?

Very. Many say it calls for urgent attention. Most authorities say the problem in the recent few years has spun out of control.

  • The Centers for Disease Control reports a 40 year study disclosing that from the mid 1950s to mid 1990s, teen suicides grew by 600%. Yes, that is a 600% increase. And that was BEFORE the invention of social media which has made cyber bullying and FaceBook possible.
  • Natinally, suicide is the second or third most common cause of death among teens, depending on location. Here in San Diego County it is the #2 most common cause of death among teens. Among US college students, suicide the #2 most common cause of death. Rates among Native Americans are 10x that of white teens!
  • The National Assn of State Legislatures reports that in the three years 2010-2012, suicide among teens grew by 7% among 15-16 year olds but by 100% among 12-13 year olds. This is a stunning number - a 100% increase in just 3 years.
  • A ten year study published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Assn in 2013 answers the question Is suicide contagious? The answer is YES! Young teen simply hearing of the suicide death of "someone like me" are FIVE TIMES as likely to have suicide ideation, wondering "maybe that's my solution, too?" We cannot control access to the news, but we CAN be part of the discussion about this tragic "solution."

Steve answers the questions:

Why is there a major gender difference between suicide attempts and deaths?

Real life examples of how teens have beaten the odds, and where they have not.

How do you best help your friend who is fed up?

How do you recognize suicide risk factors and warning signs in others? Why do those considering suicide rarely see the dangers in themselves?

When are teens over their heads, in need of help?

What MUST teens say and do every time they know of someone thinking of suicide?

FACT: "Nobody wants to die. Suiciders just want the pain to stop."

And if there is enough time ... we will talk about how teens can organize personally and collectively to prevent suicides from being attempted.


Where can you see VIDEO of Steve presenting?

What will Steve NOT talk about?

Some heavy topics don't belong in teen presentations.

  • We do not focus on specific methods of committing suicide. Also, if the media would avoid reporting all details, it would help prevent copy-cat suicides.
  • We know that religious faith helps prevent suicides at all ages. But if your students together as public school students, we will skip references to faith as a positive factor. However, if your students are gathered together as a church or private group (to include scouting), the role of faith in preventing suicide is a legitimate discussion item.

Who should hear this presentation?

This is ripe for all students in grades 7-12 plus all four years of college study. Why? Because that is who is at risk.

For college students, suicide is the #2 most common cause of death. For high school students, suicide is #2 or #3, depending on the location. Middle school age students will hear a modified version. Why so young? Because middle-school is ground zero for bullying and cyber-bullying. And because when attacked, middle schoolers are more vulnerable than older teens.

Please, if there is a possibility of bringing parents and teens together for a suicide prevention talk, SAME room SAME time, then please invite them. This is a conversation parents and teens should be having together!

FACT: One in 8 teens reports having suicidal thoughts in the last year. One in 12 teens report making suicide plans last year. One in 25 teens self-report making specific written plans on why, when, where and how. We cannot prevent teens from thinking about the suicide. But parents and teachers need to be part of the conversation any teen is having on the subject! Or, schedule the parents separately for good effect.

What topical options does Steve offer?

Preventing Teen Suicide:
__ Intended for teens
__ Intended for teens and parents together
__ Intended for teens following a suicide attempt or death in your city.
__ Intended as a sequence of two or three meetings/presentations over a few months. This includes small group discussions among teens including what-would-you-do scenarios and at least one of the meets held jointly with parents also in attendance.

How much time do we need?

Anything less than 20 minutes has too little value. 40-45 minutes at a time allows for a brief but valuable, positive discussion. We can provide up to four 45 minute presentations without ever covering the same material twice. So if you like, schedule Steve two or three times, perhaps weeks apart.

What does this cost?

Costs are very nominal - such that they are never a reason not to do this.

Many these presentations are in response to a recent, local teen suicide. Others seek to prevent the next one. I look forward to having time with the teens in your care. Please consider inviting parents to attend as well. Please let us help you prevent your next one.

MA, Speech Communication; two BAs, SDSU. 3,500 professional speeches in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Western Europe. 1.25 million books and 3 million+ audio programs sold since 1986. Now at work on book #14, Blood Sport: A Direct Letter to the Teens of America from a Father Who Knows the Curse of Teen Suicide.

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct 760-216-1353/Cell |