Recent Statistics 14 teens complete suicide each day (x4.5) Suicide is a common thought to 62% of U.S. adolescents The 10 to 14 age group increased 124% from 1995 to 2005 Within a typical classroom, it is likely that 3 students (one boy and two girls) have made a suicide attempt in the last year Mich. Assoc. of Suicidology State Conference
20 th Century Guidelines for Measuring a Successful man According to a recent newspaper article, adolescents rated a successful man by: –His ability to make money –The type of car he drives –The job he holds/how good he is at it –Clubs he belongs to –The size and style of his house
How AdolescentsDefine Success Accomplishing goals Getting good grades Peaceful family Giving your best in life Being good at something Being happy “I don’t deserve to be successful”
Myths About Teen Suicide Youth who talk about suicide rarely attempt it Talking about suicide will make it happen The tendency toward suicide is inherited Teen suicides happen at night If a person wants to complete suicide nothing can stop him Once a teen has been suicidal he is never out of danger
Suicidal Crisis Experts claim that every person in a suicidal crisis will tell between 2 and 4 people that he/she is thinking about ending his/her life
Why Are They Thinking Suicide? Relief from problems End of a burden Solution to problems Revenge
How to Recognize A Potential Suicidal Individual Poor self concept Usually an antisocial isolate. They are introverted and become withdrawn Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs Change in habits of appearance Gives away prized possessions Poor communications with family and friends A history of prior acts of suicide
What to Look For Previous attempts Scratching or superficial cutting of the body Themes of death or depression in writing, art, talk Verbalization of intentions Recent significant loss Discord in the home
What to Look For Sudden decline of academic performance Sudden loss of interest in things once passionate about Acute personality changes Statements like “I’d be better off dead,” “Nothing matters,” “I won’t be a bother to you much longer.” Feelings of hopelessness and depression
How We Can Help Be a good listener Evaluate the individual Don’t suggest they go do it Accept every feeling the person expresses Don’t be afraid to ask them directly Beware of fast recoveries Be supportive and affirmative Seek further consultation Help the person realize that a completed suicide is irreversible Never leave the person alone in an acute crisis
4 Questions That can save a life Are you thinking about suicide? What is going on? Where does it hurt? What can I do to help?
Suicide Assessment SLAP S – How SPECIFIC is the plan L – How LETHAL is the proposed method A – Have the ACQUIRED the means or how AVAILABLE is the means P – What is the PROXIMITY of helping resources when and where the person plans to attempt
Prevention Tips Remove guns from the home. Teens are likely to act on impulse. Early detection of substance abuse Family therapy for families experiencing multiple stressors Upon signs of depression – get a professional evaluation Listen, Listen, Listen
How Can I Help Review Be direct Be willing to listen Be non-judgmental Get involved Don’t dare Don’t act shocked Don’t be sworn to secrecy Recognize your limitations
Ways to Support a Depressed Family Member Try to maintain as normal a relationship as possible Acknowledge that the person is suffering Don’t expect the person to snap out of it Encourage efforts to get treatment and get better Express affection, offer kind words, pay compliments
Ways to Support Cont. Show that you value and respect the person Help keep the person an active, bust family member Don’t pick on, criticize or blame the person for his/her depressed behavior Don’t say or do anything you think might worsen the person’s poor self image Take any talk of suicide seriously and notify the person’s health caretaker immediately
How Parents Can Turn Things Around Bury the hatchet Stop trying to run their lives Don’t deny your cooperation Let them experience the consequences of their actions Give them choices Don’t portray that you were a perfect teen Let them know that you are there for them There is Hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What Adults Can Do Smile at every child and adolescent you see When your children’s friends come to your home, greet them, make them feel welcome, pop popcorn, invite for dinner, etc. Regularly do things with your children, including projects around the house, recreational activities, and service projects Model and talk about your own values and priorities
Do’s and Don’t Review Talking to a person in crisis: –DON’T Sound shocked Stress shock on family and friends Engage in philosophical religious debate Assume responsibility for a person’s actions
Do’s Talking to a person in crisis: –DO Emphasize alternatives Stay calm and understanding Mention family as source of support Emphasize tackling problems one at a time Develop a contract with the person Emphasize that if he completes it, there is no second chance Process all contacts with a professional counselor
Most Common Asked Questions Why do you use the term “completed suicide” instead of “commit suicide?” Won’t I put ideas in kids’ heads by talking about suicide? If I am talking to a person who at the time seems to be suicidal, should I come right out and ask him if he is thinking about suicide? What is wrong with today’s kids?
Common Questions Cont. Isn’t depression the result of a character flaw? Maybe if the person made better decisions he wouldn’t be depressed? How is grief from suicide different than grief from death of other causes? Can I scare kids out of suicidal thoughts? Is medication for depression causing suicidal behavior in teens?
Questions Cont. What are the most important things to teach teens while helping a friend in suicidal crisis? What have been some of the worst things that can be said to a teen in suicidal crisis?