Thursday, April 21, 2016

Speak Up!!

We would like to wrap our suicide awareness week by encouraging you to speak up if you or someone you know is struggling. Whether it is talking to a trusted adult or calling an anonymous hotline, help is available to you. The previous few posts have given several resources that are available for several types of situations. These resources are there for one reason: to help individuals in their time of need.

In closing, we would like to leave with this final thought: Your individuality is a precious gift. Embrace your gift and share it with the world!

As a wise man once said, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is Youer than You."
                                                               --- Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mental Health Resources

Reaching out to others and educating oneself are so critical when tackling mental health issues. In addition to the resources available at school, there are many websites that have had such a positive impact on the lives of teens and their families. Some of these issues are tremendously difficult to handle, it is so important that teens know that they are not handling them alone.

Some fantastic resources include:

Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free emotional support and information to teens in any type of crisis, including feeling suicidal. You can text with a trained specialist 24 hours a day. Text “CTL” or “LISTEN” to 741-741.
This website provides information and support for teens and young adults struggling with mental health issues, including suicide. All the material is written by teens and young adults. There are fact sheets about depression and suicide, stories about dealing with suicide issues, information on how to get help for yourself and how to help a friend, and the ReachOut blog. You can also join a forum to connect with your peers for immediate support and information or use the text service ReachOut TXT to get help from trained volunteers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mental Health Awareness 

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. The following statistics focus on the teen population:

*20% of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition

*11% of youth have a mood disorder

*10% of youth have a behavior or conduct disorder

*8% of youth have an anxiety disorder

In recent studies, it has shown that 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school. We surveyed our students at IVC in regards to suicide awareness, but also included a mental health piece. The following chart displays mental health issues our students have struggled with:

There are several warning signs. The following is a short list of signs you as a parent, a friend, a neighbor, a brother, or even a cousin can be aware of in case someone close to you is struggling:

*feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks (crying regularly, feeling fatigued, feeling unmotivated)
*trying to harm or kill oneself or making to do so
*out of control, risk taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others
*sudden overwhelming fear for no reason sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing
*not eating , throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or gain
*severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
*repeated use of drugs or alcohol
* drastic changes in behavior, personality, or sleeping habits (waking up early and actin agitated) 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Warning Signs of Suicide

The following short article was written by a doctor who specializes in the area of suicide. Although no one warning sign is an indicator, there is a strong likelihood that those teens contemplating suicide will display one or more of the following signs. While this is not a complete list of every warning sign, it is a fairly comprehensive list. 

The most important thing is to not ignore these signs if they are present. Contact a hospital or qualified individual to let them know what you have noticed.

Recognizing teen suicide warning signs  

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Suicide is alarmingly common. It is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.  While boys are more likely than girls to commit suicide, teens of both genders and all ages are at risk for suicide. It is especially tragic that the three leading causes of death in teens and young adults -- accident, homicide, and suicide -- all are preventable. Parents of teens should be aware of some of the warning signs of depression and suicide. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes the following signs that may signal that a depressed teen may be considering suicide:
  • withdrawal from friends and family members
  • trouble in romantic relationships
  • difficulty getting along with others
  • changes in the quality of schoolwork or lower grades
  • rebellious behaviors
  • unusual gift-giving or giving away own possessions
  • appearing bored or distracted
  • writing or drawing pictures about death
  • running away from home
  • changes in eating habits
  • dramatic personality changes
  • changes in appearance (for the worse)
  • sleep disturbances
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • talk of suicide, even in a joking way
  • having a history of previous suicide attempts

Friday, April 15, 2016

IVC Suicide Awareness Week April 18-22

Image result for 'suicide awareness'Next week, IVC Guidance Department will be hosting a suicide awareness week. The counselors and several students have come up with a variety of activities and information to help educate our school on the prevalence of suicide, the warning signs of suicide, and what to do when a friend is talking about suicide. The outline for the week is as follows:

Monday - Awareness Day
Tuesday - Warning Signs
Wednesday - Mental Health Day
Thursday - Where to Turn / Celebrate Individuality
Friday - Speak Up!!

We will be blogging each day about the different topics listed above, so check back for more information!