Know Someone at Risk for Suicide?

Last week I attended an eye-opening lecture on suicide prevention. Besides learning the awful statistics that there are 104 suicides/day and 18 veterans a day kill themselves, I learned how to talk to someone who may be at risk.

Darcy and Paul Granello, from The Ohio State University Counselor Education Department, gave the program. They very vividly described the pain that a person feels when they are thinking of ending their lives, and point out ways to give that person hope by referring them to a counselor who will listen to their problems and/or a doctor who can prescribe medication. Darcy and Paul have found that once a person gets help for suicidal thoughts, they never talk about it again. They learn to value themselves.

The Granellos talked mainly about teenagers and college age people, since their work is at the college level.

The most important thing I learned was how to talk to someone who may be thinking about killing themselves. First you need to know the signs, such as hearing statements like:

“You’d be better off without me.”

“Maybe I won’t be around.”

“Nothing matters!”

“There’s no end to this pain I feel.”

“It’s no use.”

“Doesn’t it ever get better?”

IF SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO YOU, THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY IS NOTHING. The Granello’s have discovered that if people are thinking of suicide, if they tell someone about their thoughts and that person doesn’t respond at all, SILENCE TELLS THE VICTIM THAT NO ONE CARES. It reinforces the idea that killing themselves is a valid solution to their pain. However, most people find these statements uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, so the Granellos’s suggested the following possibilities:

LISTEN – be open and willing to hear what the person has to say. Questions that show interest may help move the conversation along, but avoid giving advice, making judgments, and offering your solution for the problem. Many times, young people need to be convinced that an adult’s concern is genuine before they’ll open up and talk about their feelings. Listen for feelings behind the words. This works for peers as well.

If you determine that a teen could be at risk, ask directly, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” THIS WILL NOT PUT THE IDEA INTO THE TEEN’S HEAD. The signals that caught your attention were already there. Asking this difficult question will open the door for a dialogue about what is going on and give you a chance to help.

If the teen admits to having thoughts of suicide, it is critical that you stay calm. Hear them out, treat his or her feelings with genuine concern, and take them seriously. Be sure to contact others to help with the problems. Don’t try to handle it alone. Involve parents, counselors, and community resources as needed.

Darcy and Paul’s main point is that suicide is not about death – it is about finding an end to the pain! The Granello’s know that the pain doesn’t end when someone kills themself. It just passes to someone else. The Granello’s son killed himself, and his pain became their pain, and opened the door for years of study on the subject. It was a very inspiring lecture. For more info try:

http://www.siblingsurvivors.com/index.htm

http://www.friendsandfamiliesofsuicide.com/

http://www.parentsofsuicide.com/

Mother arrested for toddlers’ drowning deaths

A young mother has been arrested for felony child abuse near San Diego, California. Her two children, Harley, a 16 month old girl, and Jason, her two-year old brother drowned in a friend’s swimming pool last April. There was a marajuana growing operation going on at the  house where the two toddlers drowned.

Call for justice after mother arrested for toddlers’ drowning deaths.

Protect Our Kids Act

I have always felt patriotic about the USA. I love singing the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful” sends chills up my spine. As I grew older, however, and followed the works of various presidents, I have become disillusioned about our country. I don’t like the way the government has “secret” organizations that spy on us, and I don’t like the IRS, whose power seems to be omnipotent. Most of all, I do not appreciate the way the Democrats and the Republicans have been at a near standstill for the last few years.

However, in 2012 and 2013 President Obama and Congress have passed the PROTECT OUR KIDS ACT, which creates a national committee to study ways to prevent fatal child mal-treatment. This means they are trying to prevent the deaths of children who are abused.

This particular issue is very close to my heart, since I was abused myself by a live-in babysitter when I was four years old. I know the feeling of helplessness, desperation and terror that a child experiences when they are overpowered and tortured by an adult. It is heart rending to think of a helpless child being killed by their parent or caregiver.

So I am pleased at last with the government of the United States, which is now going to help with this gigantic problem. Here are some statistics about child abuse from Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, an internet watchdog site which is very informative on child abuse.

  • Every 13 seconds a child is abused in the US.
  • Since 1980, physical abuse has increased by 84%.
  • Sexual abuse has increased by 350%.
  • Emotional abuse has increased by 333%.
  • Child neglect has increased by 320%.

The Children’s Advocacy Center released information they collected over the first half of 2013. The Centers, which are in various cities around the country and help citizens stop child abuse, dealt with 150,000 cases of child abuse, and over 100,000 cases were reports of sexual abuse.

THAT MEANS ADULTS ARE HAVING SEX WITH CHILDREN EVERY SINGLE DAY.

These statistics are unbelievable. They demonstrate the moral decline that our nation is experiencing. Immorality has increased and it is having a devastating effect on our children. Do you agree?

I am hoping the PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ACT will root out child abusers and enact tougher penalties on them.

Science Packs a Wallop

Since school has started almost all over the country, I am reminded of an incident from my school days in the fifties. As young girls, my sister, Gretchen, and I lived in Pittsburgh and went to Winchester Thurston School in Oakland. I was a year ahead at school, but our birthdays were only 22 months apart, so we were close.

Father drove us to school every morning, but we took the streetcar in the afternoon. We took the #75 streetcar from Ellsworth Avenue, through East Liberty and east on Penn Avenue to our street, Homewood Avenue near Frick Park.

Our route took us past a bread factory, where the aroma of fresh baked bread tempted us every afternoon. Mother warned us not to get off the streetcar and try to buy bread at the factory, and she always had a snack ready when we got home. We usually had a choice between potato chips and Coke(my favorite) or milk and cookies.

One day, when our streetcar got to the corner of Penn and Fifth Avenues, the conductor announced that because of road construction, the streetcar was not going the rest of the way up Penn Avenue.

“We’re going to turn left here and go down to blah blah and turn onto blah and blah, blah, blah.” I suppose the adults on the streetcar understood these directions, but it was gibberish to us. We had no idea where our faithful #75 was going. We were panicked. How were we going to get home?

“We should get off here,” I said, thinking we could walk the rest of the way home.

“No, we should stay on the streetcar,” Gretchen said. “We don’t know the way home.”

“I’m pretty sure we just stay on Penn Avenue until we get to Homewood Avenue,” I said.

That day I made my sister get off the streetcar. We were standing by ourselves at one of the busiest intersections in Pittsburgh and Gretchen was mad. She was almost in tears when she said,

“What are we going to do now? We don’t even know where we are.”

With that BANG! She hit me on the head with her science book!

“Ow!” I groaned, surprised by her sudden turn to violence. “Why did you do that?”

“Because now we don’t know how to get home,” she yelled at me.

“I know how to go,” I said, trying to sound self-assured despite my recent injury to the head.

We stood there quite awhile trying to figure out how to cross the intersection. It was four lanes in one direction and three in the other. Using the lights to tell us when to go, I led Gretchen across both streets and we started walking up Penn Avenue. I didn’t know how many blocks it was to Homewood Avenue, but I knew it crossed Penn and we would eventually get to it. However, we were getting tired and I still couldn’t see Homewood Avenue ahead, so I suggested we turn into a drug store on one of the corners. Gretchen agreed. We did what our mother and father had taught us. I asked the salesgirl if we could call home because we were lost. She looked at me very strangely and let me use the phone.

When Mother came and picked us up, she only had to drive two blocks to get to our house. We felt kind of stupid, but she was glad we called her and said we did the right thing to get off the streetcar.

I felt justified, but I had a sore bump on my head for several days. I had learned that science packs a wallop.

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them