An Urgent Calling

November 26, 2013

My blogs are typically planned in advance, thoughtful essays written about topics related to children and teens like handling melt downs, understanding your child’s temperament and discipline strategies when things get hairy.

But this week, I felt an urgent calling to shine a light on a different kind of topic related to children and teens. Suicide. My close-knit community – where I was born, raised and now raise my own family – has suffered too many recent suicide attempts and completed suicides in recent weeks.

Really, one is too many. Many families, school employees and community leaders are feeling raw, ragged…raging.

These events – some secret and some well-publicized – in my community have rocked families to the core – and I hope they rock our mental health system both locally and nationally too!

shutterstock_79104379How do we deal with a lack of available resources, the disappearing ability to direct your own child’s care rather than trust the state’s temporary detention system, limited access to support for older teens who can’t be picked up and carried to a hospital and the reliance on alcohol and drugs to self-medicate when affordable mental health supports run out?

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 10 and 19, but how can we support the teens we know? How can we help teens see that there is help all around them – especially when it feels like there isn’t a person in sight who could possibly relate to how they are feeling?

We’re talking about this at my house – a lot. We’re talking about it at our schools – a lot. Talking about feelings…stress…trauma…heartbreak…cutting…suicide – these conversations DO NOT CAUSE kids to get more stressed out – they DO NOT CAUSE kids to self-injure or commit suicide. They open a dialog about LIFE.

Ask your kids about LIFE tonight – be willing to listen to the good…the bad…and the ugly without a running commentary. Let’s make the tragedies around us serve a higher purpose – Be WISE.

Please take a moment to read through these tips for parents and educators on how to help prevent youth suicide.