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Suicide Facts, Myths and a critical look

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1 Suicide Facts, Myths and a critical look

2 PURPOSE OF LESSON To understand the causes of suicide
Look at suicide from a sociological, psychological and anthropological view How can you support someone with thoughts of suicide

3 Video +Discussion
  “The Amanda Todd Story”

4 DEBRIEF QUESTIONS Why might people like Amanda not seek assistance from those around her? What led to her feeling like suicide might be an option? Why would people continue to push someone who is suffering from mental health issues even more?

5 FACT OR FICTION As the statements are read decide if it is FACT (truth) or Fiction (false)

True and False. Sometimes they attempt because they NEED attention. There is something going on that's causing them to feel this way. They need people to listen, and professionals to help them.

7 All teenagers who are suicidal are depressed. True
All teenagers who are suicidal are depressed. True. This statement is true, but the reverse is not true. Most people will experience times in their lives when they are depressed, but have no suicidal thoughts.

8 If suicidal people really want to die, there is no way to stop them.
False. They are depressed and need help. With help, they can feel better and find other solutions.

9 Talking about suicide will cause a student to attempt suicide.
False. It's just the opposite: not talking about it could escalate the problem. Even thinking about it makes the suicidal person feel worse. Talking will help bring understanding. Discussing the subject openly shows that you take the person seriously and that you care.

10 Once a person is suicidal, they're suicidal forever.
False. Those who are suicidal can go on to lead useful lives, once they get help. Usually the suicidal feelings are for a limited period of time.

11 Improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the suicide risk is over.
False. Most suicides occur within 3 months following the beginning of "improvement", when the teen has the energy to put their morbid thoughts and feelings into effect. Relatives and physicians should be especially vigilant during this period.

12 FAST FACTS In 2009 there were 3,890 suicides in Canada, a rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people. The suicide rate for males was three times higher than the rate for females (17.9% versus 5.3% per 100,000). Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among year olds and 16% among year olds. Suicide is among the leading causes of death in year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.

Teens with low self-esteem Teens suffering from depression Teenagers who have been abused, molested, or neglected Teenagers who abuse drugs and/or alcohol Teenagers who are struggling or are bullied as a result of gender based violence Teenagers who are in dysfunctional families

14 WARNING SIGNS Trouble coping with recent losses, death, divorce, moving, break-ups, etc. Experience with a traumatic event. Sometimes a significant traumatic event can create feelings of hopelessness and despair. Making final arrangements, such as writing a will or eulogy, or taking care of details (i.e. closing a bank account).

15 WARNING SIGNS-CONT… Gathering of lethal weapons (purchasing weapons, collecting pills, etc.). Giving away prized possessions such as clothes, CD's, sports equipment, treasured jewellery, etc. Preoccupation with death, such as death and/or 'dark' themes in writing, art, music lyrics, etc. Sudden changes in personality or attitude, appearance, chemical use, or school behaviour.

16 VERBAL SIGNS "I can't go on anymore" "I wish I was never born"
"I wish I were dead" "I won't need this anymore" "My parents won't have to worry about me anymore" "Everyone would be better off if I was dead" "Life sucks. Nobody cares if I live or die"

17 If you know someone who may be suicidal...
Offer time to talk about feelings, but don’t feel you have to be the one to support them if you don’t feel able to. Try not to offer false reassurances, phrases like ‘look on the bright side’, ‘you have everything to live for’ etc… Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk with someone who is tearful – a lot of people might be avoiding them because they find it hard to deal with other people’s emotions.

18 CON’T Be supportive and try not to be scared of asking them how they are feeling. If you are worried about them try to encourage them to seek help or, if you feel able to, go with them such as a school counsellor. Look after them when they are out and about as they may appear vulnerable.

19 Historical (Anthropological look) at Suicide
In Ancient Greece, suicide was generally regarded as not wrong in itself, but there had to be a justification for it. E.g. If you had disgraced your family, suicide was allowed In Ancient Rome, there was usually no prohibition of suicide for citizens. Suicide was forbidden for slaves and soldiers: Slaves: $$$, so if dead, loss of income Soldiers: you represent your state, if you committed suicide you were dying for the wrong reasons- question of honour

20 Life was considered a gift from the Gods: most leading Romans supported the idea of suicide for specific situations, such as individuals preferring death to dis-honour, or those who wished to avoid the solitude of old age. In the Middle Ages, suicide was often regarded as the result temptation from “the Devil”, brought on by despair or madness. Attitudes towards suicide began to change slowly during the Renaissance, although for many religious people, this act was still regarded as a temptation from “the Devil”.

21 Sociological View of Suicide: Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim is commonly referred to as the “father of sociology”, a French sociologist, social psychologist, and philosopher, who’s main focus/area of study centered around society and how it shapes human behaviour Theorized that suicide was determined by relationships between individuals and society- Suicide is a societal problem causes by the failure of “the structure”– the society has failed the person Structural Functionalism Theory!

22 Psychological View Major depression: most common psychiatric illness to contribute to suicide (20x higher than general population) Research shows risk for suicide is associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Decreased levels of serotonin have been found in people with depression, impulsive disorders, a history of suicide attempts, and in the brains of suicide victims. Hopelessness is thought to be the component of depression that is most often associated with suicidal ideation or thinking (Nekanda-Trepka et al., 1983).

Discuss the story with your group members and list the 'at risk group' and 'warning signs' that are revealed in the story.

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