Depression rates have skyrocketed since the inception of the iPhone in 2007. Today, suicide is the leading cause of death in Oregon for ages 10-24. iRespect&Protect, a collaborative effort by Marion and Polk counties, hopes to change this by offering free tools, resources, and toolkits for youth, teens, parents, youth serving organizations, and schools.
On Monday, Feb. iRespect&Protect will launch its website, thanks to ongoing support and input from teens, parents, medical and mental health professionals, educators, law enforcement, youth-serving organizations and other community members. Support has continued to increase since 2018 when need and vision for iRespect&Protect was created through collaborative focus groups held through Marion and Polk counties.
iRespect&Protect’s kick-off campaign include bus and billboard ads and partnerships with local coffee cafes to raise awareness of the influence of device and social media use on mental health and self-esteem, particularly on teens. The iRespect&Protect website and programs will foster positive self-worth, promote healthy online choices, and encourage safe relationships in the digital age.
“This project will continue to grow,” said Kelley Parosa, Prevention Director of Liberty House, “and we are encouraged by the amount of time, feedback, and support we have received for this campaign from its inception in 2018, especially by the youth in our community. This is a community campaign, but this is a youth-led campaign as well.” iRespect&Protect is a community effort facilitated by Liberty House, the child abuse assessment center serving Marion and Polk counties.
Through iRespect&Protect’s website individuals, families, and organizations can educate themselves about the influence of screen-time on their lives, as well as find free tools including digital media contracts and interactive conversation starters. The website also provides contact information for crisis intervention, crisis prevention, and ongoing support for a variety of needs teens and parents of youth may need including: online cruelty, sexting, sextortion, anxiety and depression, and suicidal ideation.
Visit the website at www.irespectandprotect.com.