By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
Part three of the Leander ISD Student Wellness series was presented last week at Vandegrift High School. The theme of the presentation, open to all LISD families, was “Mental, Social and Physical Well-being,” which covered suicide prevention and awareness, positive parenting and avoiding power struggles, and body image and eating disorders.
Teen suicide addressed
LISD Director of Guidance Adriann Ivey teaches parents to ask if they think someone they know is considering suicide. Photo by Sarah Doolittle
Adrian Ivey, LISD’s Director of Guidance, opened the evening with a comprehensive picture of the factors that can contribute to teen suicide. Leading indicators of suicide include substance abuse and mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Other groups are also at risk, however; for example, those experiencing high stress situations (major trauma, family illness), those with a family history of suicide and those considered to have a preexisting vulnerability such as LGBT youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender).
The risk can can be mitigated by protective factors. Social and family support, lack of availability of lethal means (such as a gun), and access to mental health services are a few of the components that can be influential in preventing suicide. As Ivey stressed, someone contemplating suicide will often do so for only a brief window of time, meaning these simple factors can be key deterrents.
Texas has developed its own suicide prevention and response program, found at www.texassuicideprevention.org, the main message of which is “ASK about suicide to save a life,” stressing the importance of asking if you think someone you know may be considering suicide.
“Asking a direct question and knowing how to refer will help to save lives,” advised Ivey.
She went on to dispel a common misconception. “Asking a direct question about suicide does not put the thought in someone’s head. On the contrary. Most of the time people will report that it made them feel good just to know that someone was listening.”