This is Suicide Prevention Week and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The focus is on prevention. Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, races, ethnicities, upbringings and socio-economic statuses die each year by suicide. Suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of death among people between ages 15 and 24, with about 5,000 lives lost each year. It is never too soon to start prevention.
Here are some simple things you can do:
1. Help your children appreciate their strengths. Encourage them to try new things and to solve problems. Allow them to express their fears.
2. Help your teens, and yourselves, find your balance. We can’t be all things all the time. Again, focus on strengths and passions.
3. Talk with your teens. Communicate in a way that encourages listening, talking and feelings of importance. Tell them daily you love them.
4. Share stories, listen to music, watch movies, play games, go for a walk, or let your teen plan a meal or time together. Take time to enjoy being together without stressing about grades, classes or which college to go too.
5. Help your children understand they will feel sad sometimes and that’s okay. Tell them you are there to listen. Remember, a child’s feelings are very real to him/her.
6. If you ever notice that your son or daughter has deep feelings of sadness that linger, changes in appetite or sleeping, constant headaches or stomachaches, or other significant changes in behavior, seek professional consultation. You can speak with your school social worker, counselor, psychologist, your family doctor, or other mental health professionals in the community.
7. Georgia Crisis & Access Line is available 24/7 free of cost to provide help for problems with mental health, drugs or alcohol. You can call them at 1-800-715-4225 for information about mental health concerns, or when in crisis. www.mygcal.com. Remember, when you take care of yourself, you can better take care of your teen. This may be