More than 1,000 lo­cal teens con­sid­ered sui­cide last year

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - ROB DEWIG rdewig@cov­

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.”

About QPR

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 qprin­sti­ or call 509-536-5100.

To sched­ule QPR train­ing, call Susan Paul Smith at 770-761-1451 or Wilds at 770-856-8034.

Warn­ing signs

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.

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