September is Suicide Awareness Month. The week of September 25-29, 2017 has been designated as Suicide/Depression Awareness Week for Brevard Public Schools. Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24 and college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2015 CDC WISQARS) Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
The following three should prompt you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or a mental health professional.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
Some warning signs or behaviors to be aware of:
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
You can make a difference and help fight the “Silent Epidemic” of Youth Suicide. Below is a list of things you can do in your own community to make a difference.
- Educate yourself about the magnitude of the problem, the signs of concern and the tools of prevention.
- Watch and listen to your children and pay attention to sudden changes in behavior that cause you concern.
- Remain calm. If an individual is opening up to you, he or she must trust you and feel comfortable with you.
- Be willing to seek professional help and guidance if you feel your child is becoming depressed or contemplating hurting him/herself.
- Talk openly and honestly with your child or your child’s friends about your concerns and be supportive in helping them cope with their feelings.
- IMPORTANT: You can contact your local school’s guidance/ counseling department for assistance in addressing any concern’s you have about a young person’s safety. They will be able to guide you to local resources that may be available to help also.
- Know there is help and resources: