Talking to Kids About Suicide.Monica Kurz, Director of the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center:
School is back in session! Parents and students are re-acclimating to the demands of often hectic school schedules. Student suicide deaths were too often in the news last school year, and the idea of protecting our youth is very much top of mind. Safe school environments and strong relationships with teachers, coaches, parents and other caring adults are important protective factors against suicide for all youth. This month Headquarters, Inc is reflecting on steps that all adults can take to be good supports and safe contacts for the young people in their lives.
Children and adolescents experience a wide variety of risk factors for suicide. Adults may ask themselves if the behavior they are observing in adolescents is cause for concern or “normal” teen behavior. The refrain we share over and over again at Headquarters, Inc. is good suicide prevention happens in the context of relationships. Being acquainted with a person’s typical patterns of behavior and knowing the stresses they encounter day to day is the best way to be prepared to notice changes that could indicate a suicide crisis.
Acting as a “safe adult” for the youth in your life does not require a lot of specialized training. The most important thing an adult can do is to really notice youth and their experiences. It is also incredibly important to take them and their concerns seriously even if the concerns seem like a passing phase to someone with more years under their belt. Adolescents want their thoughts, feelings and experiences to be treated with non-judgmental, serious respect. The more often we take them seriously, the more likely they are to continue to answer when we ask serious questions. Know that asking directly about suicide can be scary but is necessary. It can help to try sharing the specifics of what you have noticed which has prompted a serious conversation. Saying, “I know you were really disappointed about not making the baseball team, and I have noticed you aren’t spending as much time gaming with your friends. Are you feeling down? Sometimes when things go wrong people think about ending their lives, have you been thinking about suicide?” can open up the most important conversation you will ever have with your youth. Even if you are not the parent or the teacher it is everyone’s business to notice our youth and their struggles. It is far better to start a conversation that doesn’t feel like our business than to question if we should have later.
What to do:
More brief facts through the National Association of School Psychologists
We can work together this school year to protect all our youth from suicide. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. If you need help having a conversation or want to ask some questions about things you are noticing, call our counselors at 800-273-8255 or locally at 785-841-2345. For additional resources check out the newly updated Youth Suicide Prevention page on the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center. There you will find prevention and intervention toolkits as well as some guidance on talking to youth about suicide loss.
For more information or to learn about training through the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource center, email Monica
or visit the KSPRC's training page.
You are Invited!
World Suicide Prevention Day Open House
Monday, September 10, 2018 4:30pm-7pm
Lawrence, KS 66044
In observation of World Suicide Prevention Day, you're invited to Headquarters, Inc. for an open house. As an active 24/7 crisis center, we rarely open our doors to the public. On this occasion, we welcome you to see what goes on behind the scenes, enjoys sips and bites, and tour our office and crisis center. Our volunteers, staff, and board members are excited to meet you and hear from you how we can partner to prevent suicide.
Our open house will be informal, so you are welcome to stop by any time between 4:30 and 7:00pm. We would appreciate if you could RSVP, or if you'd like to know the next time we host an event like this, there's a button for that too! Click here to RSVP either way.
Please note that there is visitor parking available in the front of the building bordering 8th Street, free street parking on Rhode Island, and the city parking lot is also available.
Volunteer at Headquarters!
Joining Headquarters Counseling Center as a volunteer Counselor can be one of the greatest and most rewarding things you will ever do. No matter where you are in life, you'll learn skills that you'll use personally and professionally for the rest of your life! Our training is very thorough, so no experience is required.
We have 2 more info sessions coming up! Wednesday, August 29, 2018 (TONIGHT!) at 7:00 pm and Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 7:00 pm. All info sessions are held in our conference room, 211 E. 8th Street, lower level, Lawrence, KS
Info sessions are the first step to becoming an HQCC Volunteer Counselor. You have a chance to ask questions and learn about our training process, schedule, and commitment we ask every volunteer counselor to make. Visit our Volunteer Page or Facebook Event page to learn more or share this incredible opportunity.
National Suicide Prevention Month
This month, as always, we ask that you help share why suicide prevention in Kansas is imperative to public health.Sharing resources and spending a little extra time listening can go a long way in preventing suicide. We'll have plenty of chances for you to share too. Visit our Facebook or Twitterpage regularly, click the share or retweet button to help others know that they are not alone, there are people who care for and want to help them, and that suicide IS preventable.
As we continue to build capacity as the only National Suicide Prevention Lifeline serving all of Kansas, we also ask for your financial support. Make a donation, ask your office to chip in, host a bake sale, post a Facebook Fundraiser, or start your very own Peer-to-Peer fundraiser for Headquarters. As our call volume continues to increase (up 60% since 2014), our crisis center can only operate and build capacity with your help.