With all the recent information in the news about teen suicide I thought I would pass this information on to you.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION IN TEENS
* Sadness or hopelessness
* Irritability, anger, or hostility
* Tearfulness or frequent crying
* Withdrawal from friends and family
* Loss of interest in activities
* Changes in eating and sleeping habits
* Restlessness and agitation
* Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
* Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
* Fatigue or lack of energy
* Difficulty concentrating
* Thoughts of death or suicide
SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS:
• Talking about suicide/dying or self-harm
• Seeking out lethal means: guns/pills/knives or other objects to be used in a suicide attempt
• Preoccupation with death: writings/drawings as well as talking about death or violence
• No hope for the future: feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or feeling trapped “no way out”, belief that nothing will change
• Self-loathing, self-hatred; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame & feeling like a burden “better off without me”
• Getting affairs in order: giving away possessions
• Saying Goodbye: unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family & friends
• Withdrawing from others: increased social isolation, desire to be left alone
• Self-destructive behavior: increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, taking unnecessary risks
• Sudden sense of calm & happiness: after being depressed for a prolonged period of time
WHAT SCHOOL PERSONNEL CAN DO:
• Recognize that children do not choose to be depressed. When children are depressed, they lack the resources to do their best work. Therefore, do not use punitive approaches to address difficulties as it may cause further low motivation.
• Develop a relationship with the child. Provide them individual attention, talk with the student, and be patient with them. Do this in a way that doesn’t draw attention to them in front of their classmates.
• Modify assignments or tasks. This does not excuse the student from completing work, but more time, lessening the length of assignments, and pairing the student with other students may help increase work production.
• Provide opportunities for success. Schedule pleasant activities and opportunities for successful leadership.
• Seek help from your school’s school psychologist or school social worker when appropriate.
• If a student talks of suicide or dying, do take it seriously and contact your school’s school psychologist or school social worker right away.
If you do find yourself talking with a suicidal person:
• Be yourself. Let the person know you care, and that he/she is not alone.
• Listen. Let the person unload despair & vent anger.
• Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient, calm & accepting.
• Offer hope. Reassure the person that help is available & that the suicidal feelings are temporary.
• Let them know that it’s ok for them to share their pain with you.
• Don’t argue with the suicidal person. Avoid saying things like: “you have so much to live for,”, “you will hurt your family” or “you’re being selfish”.
• Don’t act shocked, lecture on the value of life or say that suicide is wrong.
• Don’t promise confidentiality. Refuse to be sworn to secrecy. A life is at stake and you may need to speak to someone in order to keep him/her safe.
• Don’t offer ways to fix their problems, give advice or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings. It is not about how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the student at this time.
• Don’t blame yourself. You can’t fix someone’s depression. Their happiness, or lack thereof, is not your responsibility.