CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stopping youth violence was the topic at a conference Friday where youth advocates learned about stopping not just violence against others but teens hurting themselves.

It's all about awareness and education, said Teen Health Connection Executive Director, Libby Safrit.

One in eight teenagers tries to commit suicide. It's that startling of statistic that brought youth organizations and Charlotte Mecklenburg school representatives together for the 8th Annual Youth Violence Prevention conference.

I'm here to get educated on effective ways to educate our youth within the community, to learn about new ways violence is going on via cybering, text message, Facebook, Instagram, the music we listen to, said Milas Young with Youth and Family Services.

The focus of this conference is not just any violence, but self-inflicted, too, something CMS officials say
is all too common these days.

We're seeing those kinds on behaviors more frequently, things like cutting and scratching, picking sores and not allowing them to heal, burning themselves, said Karen Thomas, with CMS Support Services.

So they're trying to gain tools to bring back to the troubled youth to help them find other ways through their pain.

What the research tells us is that those behaviors are occurring because of the emotional pain that students are experiencing and frequently that pain is so great that students feel numb to any feelings, said Thomas.

In between speakers, there are breakout sessions about major contributing factors.

We're focusing on substance abuse because that's also one of those variables that touch both areas, said Teen Health Connection Executive Director, Libby Safrit.

And how other kids play a role,

How many kids are dealing with bullying in the school system, which is certainly part of violence, said Safrit.

So they can reach children before it's too late.

So it's really important we talk to our youth because these are deaths that are all preventable, said Safrit.

Read or Share this story: