In March of 2006, my world was turned upside down as I learned my then nine year old had not only considered hurting himself, but also had a suicide plan. I don’t know if I could have gotten through it had it not been the support I received from friends in response to a rather cryptic prayer request…
GLBT Youth are not the only ones who are bullied or at risk for suicide. Teen Lifeline offers peer counseling for teens and those concerned about teens. Please add 602.248.TEEN to your child’s cell phone so that he or she has someone to call if they or a friend are in trouble (see the graph below). If you live outside Arizona and can’t find a local resource for support, you’ll find some national numbers below as well.
Suicide can be prevented. Most teenagers don’t want to die. The majority of those considering suicide give some sort of clue. Many young people don’t think about suicide as being permanent.
- Each year, nearly 26,400 teens in Arizona attempt suicide.
- Arizona ranks 3rd in the nation for teen suicide.
- Each year since 1985, Arizona has ranked in the top 10 states for teens who completed suicide.
- Breakup of the family including divorce and separation.
- Moving after establishing meaningful relationships.
- Experiencing a loss like a break-up, end of a relationship, or intense friendship.
- Pressure to attain unrealistic goals by self or others.
- Pressure to use drugs, alcohol, or engage in other destructive behaviors
- Statements like “I just want to go to sleep and never wake up”
- Statements indicating worthlessness or desire of death like “Everyone would be better off if I were dead”
- Depression or sadness lasting for more than two weeks
- Sudden and drastic changes in personality
- Behavior such as sleeping, eating or grooming in excess
- Giving away personal belongings that have special meanings
- Saying a final goodbye to family and friends or leaving a goodbye note
- Previous suicide attempts
- Using drugs and alcohol increases impulsivity and the risk of suicide
WHEN A FRIEND TALKS OF SUICIDE
Let your friend tell you about their situation and feelings. Don’t give advice or try to find a simple solution. Really listen to what they are trying to tell you.
If your friend’s words or actions scare you, say so. Your discussion will not encourage your friend to go through with their plan. Let your friend know you care.
At times everyone has felt sad, hurt, or depressed. You know what it feels like. Let your friend know that they are not alone and that you care.
If you keep this secret you could lose your friend forever. Try to get them to talk to an adult they trust. If they won’t, talk to someone yourself or call Teen Lifeline.
If you or someone you know needs help or needs to talk;
IN MARICOPA COUNTY
OUTSIDE MARICOPA COUNTY
This graph shows the topics teens generally discuss when they call the hotline.
- Make a List for Help (requires Acrobat Reader)
- Suicide Information Questionnaire (requires Acrobat Reader)
For more information on specific teen issues, please visit the following web sites as well:
OK, I’m busily transferring more of those blog archives from other locations, and have been focusing on some from about two and a half years ago, when my oldest hit a dark, scary, and unfortunately, very common place for kids who are exceptional learners: anxiety, depression, and thougths of suicide.
Here’s the link to the ADHD/Gifted archives:
I’ve had some personally surreal moments over the last few months. Normally, this is the kind of post I would restrict to my preferred list… you know, the people who know me intimately and to whom I can share the deep dark or completely nutty things and know that even if they judge me for it, they’ll still love me anyway. But this one, even though it falls into both categories, I think I’ll just leave out there. It’s going to contain a lot of mess and may not make a damn bit of sense to anyone who doesn’t know me ‘like that’ but on the other hand, maybe someone will see something in it that they need.
In March, Tyler had an appointment with a leading developmental pediatrician in the field of ADHD, at a Child Study Center. We were to review some screenings for depression and anxiety. Tyler was showing some significant signs of both. As the PNP was asking questions to Tyler at the end of the appointment to get an idea of how often he was feeling depressed/sad and anxious/worried, she asked him if he ever thought about suicide. Tyler had, and of greater concern, when she asked him how he’d do it, Tyler had a suicide plan. Read more…
March 28, 2006 – Tuesday 9:30 PM
Current mood: lethargic
Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, here and in your emails. There is so much going on all at once that I feel dizzy. And tired. Friday night I spoke with Tyler about what is leading up to his feelings, which was a terribly scary thing for me. K’s name came up often, as did a couple others I’ve heard before. Tyler is also troubled about his friendship with A, which seems to have hit the rocks. I asked Tyler specific questions about his feelings, and he indicated that he thinks the other kids would stop acting the way they do if he were to kill himself. I asked him if he just wanted to teach them a lesson, or if he really did not want to live, and he said that he wants them to learn a lesson, but he also does not want to live the way he’s been living. I asked too, if he feels like he wants to kill himself when he’s in trouble at home or if he feels like we (his family) also need a lesson… Read more…
I try not to ‘relive’ my life through my children. I make a conscious effort to try and NOT transfer my own emotions and experiences onto Tyler’s life, even while I try and tap into those same emotions and experiences so that I can empathize with what he’s going through, and help him. I’ve noticed I keep saying to myself, things like… we’re going to be OK. I suddenly feel like I am reliving my childhood. I was not a stranger to ‘dark’ fantasies… wouldn’t everyone just feel terrible about the way they’d treated me, if I were dead… whether in some horrible accident, while heroically saving someone from a house fire, or by taking my own life. Read more…
Thursday we had the follow up appointment with Dr. Kessler’s PNP, Theresa Rimer. Dr. Kessler is the director of St Joe’s (not luke’s) AZ Child Study Center, who was on the panel that rewrote the AAP criteria for diagnosing ADHD in children, but you probably know that from the blog link. Sorry, I’m still a little in awe that we see this guy. After we got the referral in 1/2005 when I was worried, we also scaled back on his meds. Things had been better, but in October I noticed some changes in his behavior (socially) that I thought coincided with the last school change, and in November, a spike in other behaviors that coincided with a trial of strattera and Joel announcing that he and Sandy were having ‘baby surprise.’ Read more…