Self-Harm and Suicide Struggles
by Livy Blomdahl and Caroline Couto
A couple of weeks ago, a Canadian teenager, Amanda Todd, 15, was found dead in her bedroom. It was apparent that she had committed suicide. This hits home as many students at Sturgis also struggle with some of the things that she had struggled with such as self-injury, depression, and trying to find somewhere to somewhere to fit in. With this recent death of Amanda Todd, and since we don’t ever want this to happen in our school or in any school for that matter, here are some suicide prevention warnings and ways to help a friend or anyone else, if you think that they are at risk.
Here are some warning signs that we got from our Guidance Team here at West:
The teen years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions – difficult for teens, their parents, and educators. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.
To proactively address this issue, Sturgis offers a suicide prevention training as part of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program. This program has proven successful at increasing help seeking behavior by students concerned about themselves or a friend and is the only school-based suicide prevention program to show a reduction in suicide attempts in a randomized, controlled study (American Journal of Public Health, March, 2004).
Our goals in offering this program to freshmen are straightforward:
To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression
To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that can occur as a result of untreated depression
To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in a friend
To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns
If you know someone who seems like they’re going to commit suicide, talk to a guidance counselor IMMEDIATELY. Tell the counselor that you’re concerned about that person. The guidance counselor will then try to talk to them and try to work it out and get them help if it seems necessary. After the guidance counselor talks to them, the person may be angry or upset with you. They might say that what you did to them by telling the counselor is not what a “real friend” would do. You did nothing wrong. You were being caring and looking out for their well-being. You can also call the suicide hotline at 1800-237-8255. Just remember that you are a wonderful, unique person, and the world is a better place because you are in it!!
Depression can happen just during certain seasons too. Winter is usually the season where a lot of people get depressed. It can just be because winter itself or because all the holidays that happen during it. The reason that people get depressed during winter itself can be because during the winter the sun goes down which means we do not get as much sunlight as we normally do the thing that regulates mood, sleep, and hormones is delayed and running more slowly in winter.
The reason that people get depressed in the holidays is because the holidays are supposed to be a time for families to be together and some families can’t. So that can suck. Also Christmas is a time where kids are expecting a ton of gifts under the tree also it’s a time where everything is supposed to be perfect. So people that don’t have a lot of money or where things aren’t that good can feel depressed because they want the perfect Christmas so badly and it isn’t happening.