The statistics show that teen suicide is on the rise. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, suicide can be prevented. Experts agree that everyone needs to get to a place where everybody, everywhere asks the questions that help identify at-risk individuals and get them the help that they need. Together, we can prevent these unnecessary tragedies.
Dr. Charlotte J. Davis, director of guidance and counseling, oversees school counselors and works with at-risk students. The District has school counselors, social workers and licensed school psychologists available to work with students in need of assistance.
“Our job is to ensure the emotional well-being, safety and health of all AISD students,” said Davis. “The District has trained staff to work with students and their families. We can provide resources to help students, their families and staff members experiencing emotional trauma. Everyone works together to determine the appropriate level of treatment.”
Davis’ staff members receive training on suicide prevention, crisis intervention, early warning signs of mental health issues and risky behaviors. For more information, visit the District’s Guidance and Counseling Department webpages (click here).
According to an April 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate jumped 24 percent from 1999 to 2014. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24 years old, and it does not discriminate. Anyone, no matter his or her age, race, ethnicity or socio-economic background, can be suicidal.
Warning signs someone may be thinking about suicide need to be taken seriously. Signs can include:
Even if the teen sounds sarcastic or joking – it is important to take these statements and actions seriously and check in with your teen.
What can you do if your teen is talking to you about suicide?
Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe. When a youth gives signs that they may be considering suicide, the following actions should be taken:
Persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention:
Mental Health Authority of Harris County
Crisis Line: 713-970-7000 and 713-970-7070
Español: 713-47-AYUDA o 713-472-9832
National Suicide Prevention
For hearing impaired, contact Lifeline: 1-800-799-4889
Crisis Hotline for Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc.
Teen (call): 832-416-1199
Teen (text): 281-201-4330
Information shared in this article came from various organizations, including the ones listed below. Visit their websites for more information and support (click on the links below):
Talk With Your Children: Good communication is the key to generating trust.
Many parents avoid mentioning the topic because they fear that, in doing so, they will incite suicide but it is not so. That is a myth. Talking about suicide should not be a taboo. The important thing is to take into account the minor’s capacity to understand and reflect on taking his own life. Remember: you have to prevent before you regret.
Create an open space with your teen to have the conversation – even if it is hard. Sharing an ear, shoulder, hug, smile or simple moment of connection today may be the beginning of the support your teen needs.
Even if your teen is not thinking about suicide, a friend of theirs may be, or they may just be worried about the topic in general. Knowing the pathways to get help opens the door to healing. Talking about tough topics and offering support opens the lines of communication, reduces risk and can lead to getting the professional help your child may need.
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