Suicide- Tweens, Teens & Adults

Suicides take a high toll. Over 800,000 people die by suicide every year and it is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. Wow! Read that number again…

There are indications that for each adult who dies of suicide, there may be more than twenty others who attempt suicide. <—- scary numbers to me!

The impact on families, friends, and communities is horrible, terrible, awful, and far-reaching; even long after people dear and near to them have taken their own lives.

The stigma attached to suicide means that many people feel unable to seek help or talk about their feelings. 😕

Many suicides occur in low-and middle-income countries where resources and services, if they do exist, are often scarce and limited.

These facts and the lack of timely interventions make suicide a serious global health problem that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada launched the grassroots initiative #308conversations by inviting each of Canada’s 308 Members of Parliament and other community leaders to hold a conversation in their community about suicide prevention. 👍

The initiative is an approach to connecting communities, sharing best practices, identifying issues, and taking action to reduce suicide and the impact of suicidal behaviours in 🇨🇦.

The World Health Organization {WHO} has worked collaboratively with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to adapt this approach for global use. 👍

Suicide is a sensitive issue though. It is likely under-reported because of stigma, labelling, and potential criminalization in some countries. 😕

Social, psychological, cultural, religious, ethnic, and other factors can interact to increase the risk of suicidal behaviour. Risk factors for suicide include; previous suicide attempt(s), mental health issues, family history/genetics, other health disorders, substance use, job loss or financial loss, trauma or abuse, and chronic pain or illness; including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or other memory illnesses, neurological disorders, and HIV/AIDS.

In 2013, the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHO, 2013). This action plan outlines suicide prevention as a priority, with the global target of reducing the rate of suicide in countries 10% by 2020.

Ten percent does not seem like a lot, but any life saved to me is a bonus and the end goal. 👍

Suicide brings up words like, stigma, shame, crazy, ‘a waste’ and misunderstanding. This means that people often do not or cannot seek proper help. If they do seek help, they risk not being able to access services-not enough to go around or they end up in an Emergency Room.

Prevention of suicide cannot be accomplished by one person, one organization, one agency, one crisis centre or hotline. The issue requires support from the whole community!

Awareness raising could take the following forms:

• social media campaigns;
• traditional media campaigns (television or radio);
• community meetings;
• workshops or webinars;
• banners, posters, billboards or advertisements;
• street plays, drama or theatre;
• training sessions.

Important Elements:

• being able to talk about suicide;
• knowing where to seek help and assisting others;
• self-help groups or helping others who have lost someone to suicide:
• preventing deaths by suicide and suicide attempts;
• promoting positive mental health and well-being;
• educating about early identification and management of suicidal behaviours;
• developing a short-term or long-term plan to provide ongoing suicide prevention efforts in the community (Suicide Prevention Australia, 2014)

Persons in need of support and services may include those who:

• have lost a loved one to suicide;
• have made previous suicide attempts;
• have mental health problems and challenges;
• have experienced harmful use of alcohol or other substances;
• have suffered financial loss;
• have experienced chronic pain or illness;
• have a family history of suicide;
• have suffered abuse or violence.

Provide mental health awareness and skills training in the various school settings. This is so needed especially in the tween age ranges.

Suicidal behaviours among adolescents are often an unknown problem. It is important to raise mental health awareness in youth & the teenagers to enhance the skills needed to deal with difficult life events & stress (Aseltine et al., 2007; Kutcher et al., 2016; Wasserman et al., 2015; Wilcox et al., 2008).

School-based interventions have been shown to be effective in suicide prevention (WHO, 2015). Integrating young people into the design of prevention programmes, including school peer support programmes.

As with other groups, young people can be key to the design and implementation of suicide prevention programs aimed at them.

They can identify the risk factors inherent in their community that should be integrated into the planning processes of community engagement efforts. Particularly when resources are low, young people can participate in the design of peer support programmes (Illback et al., 2010; Scott, 2011).

Have I captured your interest on a difficult topic?

Do you want to be involved in assisting, helping or offering support in some way to our youth whether young children, tweens or teens?

Are you a parent dealing with difficult issues and dilemmas?

No one person is an island…seek and you shall find. 💗

One life saved makes it all worth it, but again the number at the top states 800,000 commit suicide, so we have 799,999 to go…



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