LIFE IN THE MIDDLE ~SEPTEMBER~
A Mental Health and Wellness Newsletter from CMS Counselors
SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SUICIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH
In the U.S., a suicide is committed every 14 minutes and is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 -24. Females attempt more than 3 times as often as males; males die by suicide more than 4 times that of females. LGBTQ youth are often at a higher risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. Contrary to myth, talking to your child about suicide does not encourage him/her to commit suicide. We cannot afford to ignore the topic when children’s lives are at stake. Although warning signs may not always be present, they are present more often than not.
Be Familiar with Warning Signs (Arranged in the acronym, FACTS)
Feelings - Hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, emptiness, feeling anxious or trapped - these are examples of feelings that should really concern us.
Actions - includes things like trying to get access to a gun or pills, reckless behaviors, increasing drug or alcohol use, fighting.
Changes – change in attitude, moods or behaviors. Students who were active may become withdrawn, quit athletic teams, stop paying attention to personal appearance, daydream or fall asleep in the classroom or simply cut class.
Threats- can be specific like verbal statements of intent like “I‘m tired of living” or “I’m thinking of killing myself” or worrisome innuendos in writing or other class assignments. They can also be vague such as “You won’t have me around any longer to bother you.” Whether specific or vague, what these threats tell us is that the student is thinking about death or suicide, and that is what escalates our level of concern.
Situation(s)- may serve as triggers for the suicide. Your child’s coping skills may be challenged, and therefore, he/she may not see a viable solution. Situations include events like loss (family divorce, health problems, and economic problems) or death, getting into trouble at home, in school, or with legal authorities, personal losses of things like a break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend; impending changes or uncertainty.
Discussion Points at School
CMS Staff has been trained in the signs of suicide in teens and is committed to helping all of our students feel like they are important and valued at CMS. We will
- Encourage students to be kind and compassionate towards others,
- Encourage students to talk to a safe adult if they are hurting, or know someone in danger of hurting themselves,
- Help foster positive relationships with trusted adults, and
- Join with you in teaching our students resiliency.
Discussion Points at Home
- Actively listen to your child and validate what they feel.
- Focus on your concern for his/her well – being.
- Convey to him/her that he/she is important to you, and that you love him/her.
- Encourage your child to come to you when he/she (or a friend) is having thoughts of hurting or killing him/herself.
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for your child.
In cases of emergency, dial 911 or go to a hospital.
Suicide Crises Center Hotline 214. 828.1000
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800. 273.TALK (8255)
Suicide and Crises Center of North Texas 866.672.5100
Cyberbullying Awareness and Prevention
Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Whether you've been a target of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you can take to stop cyberbullying, and keep you and your children cyber-safe.
CMS counselors and administrators are committed to helping parents educate our students on the impact of cyberbullying. CMS administrators and counselors held group presentations with our students this month reminding them of ways to prevent bullying, including cyberbullying, and to STAND UP, STAND STRONG. We hope it was a great reminder to our students that we can't always see when other people are struggling, so it's best to be kind to everyone. It doesn't cost a thing to be kind, and you can get so much in return. We encouraged them to STAND UP, STAND STRONG if they witness unkind, mean, or bullying behavior. This includes not participating in online bullying behavior.
What can parents do?
- Start conversations with your child about cyberbullying.
- Regularly check your pre-teen/teens online behavior.
- Remind your child they should never participate in online bullying by liking, commenting, or sharing a rude, mean or bullying post or text.
- Encourage your child to take a stand against online bullying.
- Talk to your child about how to react if they encounter online bullying.
- Teach your child to T.H.I.N.K. before posting online. See Acronym below.
District Policy on Cyberbullying:
Additional resources and education:
How can my child meet with their counselor?
1. Teacher Referral
2. Parent Referral
3. Self Referral
We meet with students for many reasons:
1. Academic - Performance, struggles, test taking strategies, study skills etc.
2. Friendship/ Peer/Social Concerns
3. Personal Concerns
4. Behavioral Concerns
6. Responsive Services - meeting their immediate needs and concerns
If you have a concern and you would like for a counselor to meet with your child, please contact your child's grade level counselor via email or phone.