September was first declared as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in 2008. Since then, September has been a time to acknowledge those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect individuals to treatment services.
We had a son that committed Suicide a few years ago. We had no idea he was even thinking that. He acted completely normal the day before. He got up in the night and hung himself in his basement. He did not leave a “WHY” he just left. The “State of Mind” he was in he did not understand that “Suicide is Forever!”
According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of their loss.
The unfortunate truth is that suicide can happen to ANY kid in ANY family at ANY time!
Suicide is a teen’s last attempt to ease the pain, to make a statement, or it is just a wrong decision giving a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Teens don’t see the bigger picture; they only see the “right now.”
They get wrapped up in the emotions of the moment and tend to only think about a week ahead — that’s all. And when you mix immature short-sightedness with feelings of utter hopelessness, some kids think they cannot live with the pain another day.
Other kids who contemplate suicide are filled with rage over teasing by their peers or the way they feel they’ve been mistreated by family.
They choose suicide as a tragic form of payback.
You need to be alert to such warnings, to listen carefully to those around you who may be in crisis. You might think it is safer not to talk about suicide with someone you think is considering it. On the contrary, talking may be the only way to understand the person’s intentions or to confirm your fears. A willingness to listen indicates that you care, that you are willing to help.
Don’t be afraid to say the word “suicide” if you think it may be an option. Getting the word out in the open may help your teen think someone has heard his cries for help, Support and early intervention can be effective in this matter.
Reassure your teen that you love him or her. Remind your child that no matter how awful his problems seem, they can be worked out, and you are willing to help.
Ask your teen to talk about his problems. Listen carefully. Do not dismiss the problems or get angry.
One young suicide survivor shared the following:
“I can’t remember when I didn’t feel different from other kids. They all had friends but no one wanted to play with me. I hated going to school and hated being home. I guess I just hated being me. So I began planning my own death when I was in middle school.”
“I started taking pills from my parent’s medicine cabinet and just storing them. It was comforting to know I could take them at any time and be gone. The only thing stopped me was that I knew how bad they would feel if I was dead. One day my mom yelled at me for not taking out the garbage and I went to my room and swallowed all of them. I don’t know why that day was different from any other day, but it was.”
Fortunately this young man survived, entered a long term adolescent treatment program that offered both individual and family treatment, and received appropriate medication. He still wrestles daily with self-doubts but is starting to talk about these feelings with parents, friends, and a counselor.
Parents should be aware of these other warning signs that their teenager may be having suicidal thoughts:
What you can do to prevent suicide………..
- Reach Out – Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. It needs to be a direct question that can’t be misinterpreted.“Are you thinking about suicide?”Most people with thoughts of suicide want to talk about it. They want to live – but desperately need someone to hear their pain and offer them help to keep safe.Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking about suicide. This shows you care and they’re not alone.
- Listen to them– Allow them to express their feelings. Let them do most of the talking. They will often feel a great sense of relief someone wants to talk to them about their darkest thoughts.
- Check their safety – If you are really worried don’t leave them alone. Remove any means of suicide including weapons, medications, drugs, alcohol, even access to a car. Get help by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, or emergency services on 000. You can also take them to the local hospital emergency department.
- Decide what to do and take action – Talk about steps you can take together to keep them safe. Don’t agree to keep it a secret, you shouldn’t be the only one supporting this person. You may need help from someone else to persuade them to get help. You can also help by finding out information on what resources and services are available for a person who is considering suicide.
- Ask for a promise – Thoughts of suicide may return, so ask them to promise to reach out and tell someone. Asking them to promise makes it more likely they will tell someone.
- Get help – There are lots of services and people that can help and provide assistance.
- GP (doctor)
- Counselor, psychologist, social worker
- School Counselor
- Emergency Services
- Community Health Centers
- Crisis support services like Lifeline, Kids helpline
- Seek support from family and friends, youth group leader, sports coach, priest, minister or religious leader etc.
In some situations they may refuse help and you can’t force them to get help. You need to ensure the appropriate people are aware of the situation. Don’t shoulder this responsibility yourself.
The greatest asset your child has, whether he knows it or not, is a parent who insists on staying in touch with his feelings and what is going on in his life. The best weapon against depression and suicide in teenagers is a parent who knows their child well enough to know when they need help, even if the child is resistant.
Trusting your instincts on this one over rides their objections. Their safety and mental health is too important.
The bottom line: Know your children, get them to talk and get help.
If I could but have held them in my arms of care,
Brushed away the dark, dank clouds of hopelessness,
And moved them with some pure impassioned prayer:
O, dear one, I know you’re hurting bad,
And prob’ly just need someone who will understand.
Life’s wounds run deep,
But there below our surface waved emotions,
They contact inner strength, no more asleep,
And blending with the currents of compassion,
Will buoy you up to chart uncharted seas.
You may be different from the rest,
But that’s what makes you special,
Your talents are unique and precious,
Enough to help you reach your crest.
Don’t throw it all away!
We need you!!
(From Wholesome Balance)
For More Information Click Below…..
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (http://www.sprc.org/)….. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides prevention support, training, and materials to strengthen suicide prevention efforts. Among the resources found on its website is the SPRC Library Catalog (http://library.sprc.org/), a searchable database containing a wealth of information on suicide and suicide prevention, including publications, peer-reviewed research studies, curricula, and web-based resources. Many of these items are available online.
American Association of Suicidology (http://www.suicidology.org/)…… The American Association of Suicidology is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding and prevention of suicide. It promotes research, public awareness programs, public education, and training for professionals and volunteers and serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (http://www.afsp.org)….. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to advancing our knowledge of suicide and our ability to prevent it. AFSP’s activities include supporting research projects; providing information and education about depression and suicide; promoting professional education for the recognition and treatment of depressed and suicidal individuals; publicizing the magnitude of the problems of depression and suicide and the need for research, prevention, and treatment; and supporting programs for suicide survivor treatment, research, and education.
The Jed Foundation….. works nationally to reduce the rate of suicide and the prevalence of emotional distress among college and university students.
Guide on Understanding Bullying …Imagine what it would be like to be bullied online. Honestly, it would be difficult for anyone to deal with the harassment. But, did you know that high school students who were bullied online are twice as likely to attempt suicide?
The bottom line is people who are bullied need the rest of us to be educated and learn how to help and support them.The guide makes it simple to learn the basics about bullying and what you can do to help.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Screening Test…….Many people have a misconception that only veterans get PTSD, but other groups suffer. Victims of sexual violence or natural disasters struggle with PTSD.
More victims of sexual violence are coming forward because of the #MeToo movement, and extreme weather is making natural disasters more frequent and more severe.
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