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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Talking To Your Kids About #MentalHealth

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MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WAOW) — For some parents, talking to your kids about their #mentalhealth may be daunting. But experts say #mentalhealth conversations are necessary.

“Kids often don’t just come out and tell you they are struggling,” said Peaceful Solutions Executive Director Lee Shipway. “I always tell parents it’s nice if you could do a check-in with them like every week, or every couple of weeks.”

According to the latest youth risk behavior survey, many kids in Marathon County struggle with their #mentalhealth.

“About half of all of the students in Marathon County reported #depression, #anxiety or self harm,” said Public Health Educator Hannah Schommer.

And when it comes to #suicide, the data is striking.

“If you think about an average Marathon County classroom size of 20 students, of those 20 students the data is telling us that one or two of those students in that classroom have attempted to kill themselves,” Schommer said.

So how do you even start the conversation with your kids? Shipway recommends asking a few simple questions: “How’s it going with your friends? How are you feeling? Is there anything bothering you that you want to talk about?”

If you’re concerned your child is having suicidal thoughts, Shipway said it’s best not to beat around the bush.

“Come right out and say it: ‘Are you feeling so sad you wish you were dead?'”

Even though those questions may be tough, Shipway said it can help open up a positive line of communication.

For additional resources about #mentalhealth and #suicideprevention you can call 211 or go to the United Way website.

The #NationalSuicidePreventionHotline is: 1-800-273-8255

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, 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 #suicidalthoughts 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

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