After our recent series on bullying, we felt there was a need to follow up with even more specific information on teen suicide. This four part series is authored by Heather Harlan of Phoenix Programs, Inc. Heather's credentials include CRPS, Certified Reciprocal Prevention Specialists, ACRA (Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach) Certified Substance Abuse Therapist/ Supervisor, and GAIN (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs) Certified Administrator/Trainer.
Part Two: Preventing SuicideYou cannot predict death by suicide, but you can educate yourself to recognize possible risks; for a list of suicide warning signs go here.
• Neglecting to take the risky behavior seriously
• Promising not to tell anyone. (“I can’t agree to that, but I care and I’ll listen.”)
• Leaving person alone.
Do ASK the person directly if s/he:
1) Is having suicidal thought/idea. “Are you thinking about killing or hurting yourself?”
2) Has a plan. “Do you think you might try to hurt yourself today? How would you do it?"
3) Has access to lethal means. “Do you have pills/weapons in the house?”
If we bring up the subject we fear it will increase the person’s thoughts of self-destruction, but experts agree this is not the case. Obtaining this information gives you insight that indicates how strongly the person is thinking of suicide and supplies you with specifics for family/ professionals who are equipped to help.
More ideas on “Getting to the Practical When in Conversation with Someone Who Is Wanting To Die,” can be found here. You can read part one of this series here.
Coming in Part 3: Talking with Parents