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James Donaldson on Mental Health – How Parents can Discuss Suicide With Their Children

James Donaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of depression and suicidal thoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Teen PhotosLOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) — Eight students in Jefferson County Public Schools have committed suicide so far this school year, according to the district.

More than 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year, according to the American Association of Suicidology. Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey data shows 9.4 percent of Kentucky youth have attempted suicide and 15.7 percent have seriously considered it.

Most recently in Louisville, Seven Bridges, 10, killed himself after being repeatedly bullied, according to his parents.

Experts say knowing the warning signs is the first step.

“It’s really important that parents bring up topics like sadness, worry, and even thoughts of killing themselves, or not wanting to be here anymore,” says Katy Hopkins a Psychologist for Norton Children’s Medical Associates. Having these conversations will not plant the idea of suicide but will, instead, let your child know you care about him or her and are there to help.

If a child is having thoughts of suicide Hopkins says it is important to tell the child how loved the child is and how many people care about him. “Often times, children and adolescents don’t have the capacity to think about the future. Therefore, it’s hard for them to imagine what are the consequences of making such a drastic step,” said Hopkins. “It’s important for the adult, who can certainly think of what those consequences would be, that you remind them how special they are to you. Then, the next thing you need do is reach out immediately to a mental health care provider, or your primary care, or in some cases, go straight to the emergency room,” emphasized Hopkins.

Warning signs for suicide include signs of depression but also can include these symptoms:

Threats or comments about killing themselves, especially if they verbalize a plan or have a way to end their life
Increased substance use

Withdrawal from friends, family, society

Uncontrolled anger, rage

Reckless behaviors or engaging in risky activities

Dramatic mood swings

“If you see your kids starting to not do things they love anymore, withdrawing from their friends, from their family, from the things they used to find enjoyment from, or if you see them having a period of sadness lasting weeks or months, those are good indications there is something really wrong beyond just the typical slamming the door in your face and saying, ‘I hate you and I don’t want to be here anymore,’” Hopkins said.
Suicide in children and adolescents is rare. Numerous resources are available for parents including: Norton Children’s Hospital, The American Association of Suicidology, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

Good Health is Mental Health

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