More than 1,000 local teens considered suicide last year
September is designated Suicide Prevention Month, but it’s a year-round effort.
The Newton/Rockdale Suicide Prevention Coalition’s 2013 Student Health Surveys revealed some shocking local statistics: 1,107 children and teens from the sixth through 12th grades in the two counties “seriously considered” suicide in the past year, and 672 attempted it.
It’s the third-leading cause of death in ages 10-24 in Georgia.
“It is important for those in any profession and well as for elderly and youth populations to be mindful of the statements of their peers,” said Jennifer Wilds, assistant coordinator of Viewpoint Health and chair of the coalition.
Be a referee at home
The Suicide Prevention Coalition has released a new brochure asking residents to “referee what’s in your cabinet.” The message is as simple as it sounds. Often, leftover prescription drugs, alcohol, aerosols — even large doses of Tylenol — are used in suicides. Know where they are and be aware others in your house probably do, too. If someone at home is depressed or suicidal, seek help and rearrange the medicine cabinet.
Other “lethal means” perhaps located at home, the brochure says, are knives and razors, bleach, belts and ropes, antifreeze and coolants, and firearms. The key is awareness, Wilds said.
The new “QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainings … we would like to get out to any group that is interested in having us come,” she said. “Trainings are free and teach people to listen for potential cues from others around them and how to get them to the next step of a professional to help them.”
Wilds compares the new training program to the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. It helps participants recognize warning signs of suicide and how to “question, persuade and refer” someone to the help they need.
QPR is not counseling, nor treatment. Its intent is to offer “hope through positive action,” Wilds said. It’s free, members will travel to speak with groups upon request, and training can be customized from one to three hours depending upon the needs of each group.
For more information, visit qprinstiture.net or call 509-536-5100.
To schedule QPR training, call Susan Paul Smith at 770-761-1451 or Wilds at 770-856-8034.
Suicide is not normally spontaneous. Here are some signs, courtesy of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: • Threatening to hurt oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself. • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means. • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person. • Feeling hopeless. • Feeling rage or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking. • Feeling trapped – like there is no way out. • Increasing alcohol or drug use. • Withdrawing from friends, family or society. • Feeling anxious, agitates, unable to sleep or sleeping more often than normal. • Experiencing dramatic mood changes. • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.