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January 2013

                         ARTICLE INDEX

Pg 1 :  Grieving Notes:  “Journey Through Suicide” - Linda

Pg 3 :  Myths About Suicide

Pg 5 :  Season For Renewal and Suicide

Pg 6 :  Mental Illness and Suicide

Pg 7 :  Schools and Bullying

Pg 10 : Military Suicides

Pg 11 : Stopping Suicides - A Team Effort

Pg 12 : Site Addresses



“  GRIEVING NOTES ”
Journey Through Suicide
By Linda Vigil
My journey through suicide loss and trying to make sense of the tragedy of losing a daughter  has been by far the most difficult road I have ever traveled.  The devastation of Mia’s choice to end her life, and the changes it made with our family and friends have made me ask over and over
...  Why?
My journey was then expanded, when going through counseling and working with survivor groups, I began to discover that mental illness exists on both sides of our family. The mental illness which if talked about would define one of us as weak. We were raised with crazy uncles and aunts. Manic depression, bipolar —all these illness’s finally had a name along with their behavior.  Family members in their illnesses, isolated themselves and could only see a black hole, without hope, and would not seek help.
I believe that with losing our Mia, the light started to appear that help was needed and that there are certain journeys in life that you cannot handle alone.  Counseling and Survivor Of Suicide groups saved my life.  In Survivors Of Suicide groups  I have been gifted by meeting wonderful people, who were also hurting and struggling to go on with their lives.  I feel anyone that walks through the doors of a meeting room has made one of the most positive steps in their lives.
The sadness I felt, the emptiness, and the question, “will I ever be happy or whole again.  Or was my own life over?”  Thank God, that I continued my long journey back to sanity and health, —a journey that has not been easy!
Many years ago, 3 months after Mia’s suicide, we were given permission to dedicate a Torrey Pine in her name at Torrey Pines State Park.  The night before the dedication we had a severe storm that broke a branch on the tree.  Still attached, the branch was hanging down, and because it is a State of California Park and Preserve, it is against the law to change or alter anything in the park.  I was so upset.  I felt the broken branch would take away from the beauty of  The Mia Tree.
Well that was the beginning of my journey into the world again.  Every time we visit  “The Mia Tree,”  we notice that the broken branch did not die, but now, just grew in a different direction —as has my life.  I too, was broken and my life journey has also taken me in a different direction.  My journey has been painful, full of anger, pointing fingers, judging, heart break, forgiveness, and education into suicide and mental illness. I believe there are no accidents in this life, and I was suppose to meet these broken and loving people.
Al and I are gifted to have met a wonderful, positive woman, by the name of Desiree Woodland, who has written the book, “I Still Believe”  regarding her son’s death by suicide.  It is a mother’s story about her son and the mental illness that changed him, his subsequent suicide, and what her Christian faith means in the light of it all.  Desiree is speaking in the community and is actively “breaking the silence” regarding mental illness.
Her act of writing “I Still Believe” became her spiritual journey to probe the promise of beauty within the darkness, to seek understanding in mystery, and to believe once again in life after death.  (www.desireewoodland.com )
Again we gain the spiritual insight that  “Sharing is Healing”

“  GRIEVING NOTES ”mia tree

Journey Through Suicide

By Linda Vigil

My journey through suicide loss and trying to make sense of the tragedy of losing a daughter  has been by far the most difficult road I have ever traveled.  The devastation of Mia’s choice to end her life, and the changes it made with our family and friends have made me ask over and over ...  Why? 
My journey was then expanded, when going through counseling and working with survivor groups, I began to discover that mental illness exists on both sides of our family. The mental illness which if talked about would define one of us as weak. We were raised with crazy uncles and aunts. Manic depression, bipolar —all these illness’s finally had a name along with their behavior.  Family members in their illnesses, isolated themselves and could only see a black hole, without hope, and would not seek help. 
I believe that with losing our Mia, the light started to appear that help was needed and that there are certain journeys in life that you cannot handle alone.  Counseling and Survivor Of Suicide groups saved my life.  In Survivors Of Suicide groups  I have been gifted by meeting wonderful people, who were also hurting and struggling to go on with their lives.  I feel anyone that walks through the doors of a meeting room has made one of the most positive steps in their lives.
The sadness I felt, the emptiness, and the question, “will I ever be happy or whole again.  Or was my own life over?”  Thank God, that I continued my long journey back to sanity and health, —a journey that has not been easy!  
Many years ago, 3 months after Mia’s suicide, we were given permission to dedicate a Torrey Pine in her name at Torrey Pines State Park.  The night before the dedication we had a severe storm that broke a branch on the tree.  Still attached, the branch was hanging down, and because it is a State of California Park and Preserve, it is against the law to change or alter anything in the park.  I was so upset.  I felt the broken branch would take away from the beauty of  The Mia Tree. 
Well that was the beginning of my journey into the world again.  Every time we visit  “The Mia Tree,”  we notice that the broken branch did not die, but now, just grew in a different direction —as has my life.  I too, was broken and my life journey has also taken me in a different direction.  My journey has been painful, full of anger, pointing fingers, judging, heart break, forgiveness, and education into suicide and mental illness. I believe there are no accidents in this life, and I was suppose to meet these broken and loving people.
Al and I are gifted to have met a wonderful, positive woman, by the name of Desiree Woodland, who has written the book, “I Still Believe”  regarding her son’s death by suicide.  It is a mother’s story about her son and the mental illness that changed him, his subsequent suicide, and what her Christian faith means in the light of it all.  Desiree is speaking in the community and is actively “breaking the silence” regarding mental illness. 
Her act of writing “I Still Believe” became her spiritual journey to probe the promise of beauty within the darkness, to seek understanding in mystery, and to believe once again in life after death.  (www.desireewoodland.com )
Again we gain the spiritual insight that  “Sharing is Healing”

Myths About Suicide

In the United States alone, someone dies by suicide once every 16 minutes. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 34.

Misinformation  —or the lack of information altogether  —often means myths-truththat desperate people can’t get the help that they need in times of crisis.  Being well-informed about depression and suicide may help you save your own life  —or the life of someone you love!

  SOME  MYTHS  AND  FACTS

Myth:  Only adults can get truly depressed.

Fact:    Children 8 or 9 can get severely depressed. Depression is epidemic among teens today.

Myth:  Depression is a weakness.

Fact:    Depression, a serious,  treatable illness that has nothing to do with moral strength or weakness.

Myth:  Depression is mostly a white, middle class problem.

Fact:  Depression is an opportunity that can affect anyone, regardless of race or socioeconomic level. Depression and suicide rates among young African-American males and Hispanic teenage girls in particular have dramatically increased in the past 20 years.

Myth:  Only depressed kids attempt suicide.

Fact:   Kids don’t have to be clinically depressed to have suicidal feelings or to attempt suicide. Even feeling extremely depressed for a relatively short period of time can lead to impulsive suicide attempts. A person who is clinically depressed for longer periods of time is at higher risk for attempting suicide.

Myth:  People who are depressed always feel sad.

Fact:   Other symptoms of depression can be irritability, lack of energy, change in appetite, substance abuse, restlessness, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, too much or too little sleep, or otherwise unexplained physical ailments.

Myth:  People who talk about suicide don’t kill themselves.

Fact:   People who are thinking about suicide usually find some way of communicating their pain to others — often by speaking indirectly about their intentions. Most suicidal people will admit to their feelings if questioned directly.

Myth:  There’s really nothing you can do to help someone who is truly suicidal.

Fact:   Most people who are suicidal don’t really want their lives to end — they just want the pain to end. The understanding, support, and hope that you offer can be their most important lifeline.

Myth:  Discussing suicide may cause someone to consider it or make things worse.

Fact:   Asking someone if they’re suicidal will never give them an idea that they haven’t thought about already. Most suicidal people are truthful and relieved when questioned about their feelings and intentions. Doing so can be the first step in helping them to choose to live.

Myth:  Telling someone to cheer up usually helps.true-false

Fact:   Trying to cheer someone up might make them feel even more misunderstood and ashamed of their thoughts and feelings. It’s important to listen well and take them seriously.

Myth:  It’s best to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.

Fact:  Never, ever keep your’s or someone else’s suicidal thoughts and feelings a secret –even if you’re asked to do so. Friends never keep deadly secrets!

Myth:  If someone promised to seek help, your job is done.

Fact:  You need to make sure that any suicidal person stays safe until you can help them connect with a responsible adult.

Myth:  People who complete suicide always leave notes.

Fact:  Most people don’t leave notes.

Myth:  People who die from suicide don’t warn others.

Fact:  Out of 10 people who kill themselves, eight have given definite clues to their intentions. They leave numerous clues and warnings to others, although some of their clues may be nonverbal or difficult to detect.

Myth:  People who talk about suicide are only trying to get attention. They won’t really do it.

Fact:  WRONG! Few people commit suicide without first letting someone else know how they feel. Those who are considering suicide give clues and warnings as a cry for help. In fact, most seek out someone to rescue them. Over 70% who do threaten to carry out a suicide either make an attempt or complete the act.

Myth:  Once someone has decided on suicide, nothing is going to stop them. They clearly want to die.

Fact:   Most of the time, a suicidal person is ambivalent about the decision; they are torn between wanting to die and wanting to live. Most suicidal individuals don’t want death; they just want the pain to stop. Some people, seeing evidence of two conflicting feelings in the individual may interpret the action as insincerity: He really doesn’t want to do it; I don’t think he is serious. People’s ability to help is hindered if they don’t understand the common suicidal characteristic of ambivalence.

Myth:  Once the emotional state improves, the risk of suicide is over.

Fact:   The highest rates of suicide occur within about three months of an apparent improvement in a severely depressed state. Therefore, an improvement in emotional state doesn’t mean a lessened risk.

Myth:  After a person has attempted suicide, it is unlikely he/she will try again.

Fact:   People who have attempted suicide are very likely to try again. 80% of the people who die from  suicide have made at least one previous attempt.

Myth:  You shouldn’t mention suicide to someone who’s showing signs of severe depression. It will plant the idea in their minds, and they will act on it.

Fact:   Many depressed people have already considered suicide as an option. Discussing it openly helps the suicidal person sort through the problems and generally provides a sense of relief and understanding. It is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Myth:  If someone survives a suicide attempt, they weren’t serious about ending their life.

Fact:   The attempt in and of itself is the most important factor, not the effectiveness of the method.


When He shuts a door,  

 

He opens a window !

 


"Season of Renewal and Suicide"

 

People are more likely to kill themselves in springtime than during the holidays !

  By Brian Palmer (Dec 2012)

Plans are under way to install a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge, which has the highest number of suicides of any site worldwide 

The suicide rate does not peak during the holidays, and the media should stop saying it does, according to a report released by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. In fact, the suicide rate is highest in spring and summer. The holiday suicide-spike myth persists because it has a convenient narrative  —lonely people become despondent around Christmas time.  So why do people kill themselves in the spring?

Possibly because they interact more. Doctors first observed in the 1820s that suicide rates spike during late spring.  Researchers have since postulated and tested all sorts of explanations for the global phenomenon, making this one of the most studied questions in psychiatry.  There’s still no consensus, but evidence suggests it has to do with so-called socio-demographic factors.  During the winter, many people go into semi-hibernation:spring roadThey work less, see fewer people, and are exposed to less frustration and conflict. That all changes in the spring, when increased interaction with others and the stress of work may trigger suicidal thoughts.  

The theory is based on a couple of observations.  First, the spring suicide peak is more pronounced among people employed on farms or in factories who experience greater seasonal variation in the intensity of work and social interactions. In addition, developing countries with a higher proportion of agricultural workers see more seasonal change in the suicide rate than do developed countries.  The magnitude of seasonal changes in the suicide rate is more than 10 times higher in Uruguay, for example, than in Belgium. Researchers have also detected a smoothing out of the seasonal variation in suicides in recent decades as more people move from farm to office.  There are smaller peaks in other parts of the year. Cubicle workers are more likely to commit suicide in the fall than in the spring, as are mothers who send their children off to school in September.

Some psychiatric researchers believe that climatic factors are responsible for seasonal changes in the suicide rate.  Some suggest that sunshine triggers suicidal thoughts, making self-harm more common in months with longer days.  Temperature is also a suspect, with one study from South Korea showing a 1.4 percent increase in the suicide rate every time the mercury rises by one degree Celsius. Rain, barometric pressure, and even thunderstorms have been blamed. Although there are studies supporting each of these theories, the data are controversial.  For every academic article correlating weather patterns or sunlight to suicide rates, there’s one debunking the claim with competing statistics.

Physical health issues that intensify in spring seem to correlate with suicide peaks, although the data are similarly tenuous.  Doctors point out that allergens trigger the release of anxiety-producing chemicals, and studies have linked the pollen count to the number of people killing themselves.  Air pollution levels, which surge in the late spring and summer in some cities, are also correlated with self-harm.

Setting the epidemiological data aside, clinicians say that people suffering from winter depression often lack the initiative to kill themselves.  One woman told her psychiatrist that she went to the basement in January to commit suicide and even selected a pipe from which to hang herself, but she gave up when she couldn’t figure out how to tie a noose.  Summer depressives, in contrast, are more likely to have a dangerous combination of energy and desperation.


Mental Illness and Suicide

A recent report shows suicide now leads to more deaths than car accidents. Suicide is also the second leading cause of death among Kent County, Michigan, teenagers. People in Rockford have felt the impact of suicides this year, and now they're working to prevent more deaths.

Rockford Public Schools recently implemented the "Live, Laugh, Love Club" in coordination with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan to educate students about mental illness. The goal now is to get the entire community talking about the issue, to try and erase the stigma surrounding suicide. That effort started Wednesday night with 200 students, parents, teachers -- and people who have survived suicide attempts.

mental-illnessSusan Campbell says she did not see the warning signs before her son's suicide. "He was really into computers and liked jazz band in high school," she said.  Her son, James, 16, took his life nearly two years ago in the backyard of their Byron Center home. "He spent a lot of time in his room and was kind of quiet and moody, but most teenagers are, so I didn't see that as unusual," she said. James' actions were potential signs of depression, say experts.

Christy Buck, executive director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, led the Rockford discussion on Wednesday. She is trying to get families and schools to watch for those early indicators and report them.

 "We know that nine out of ten times the person who takes their life is depressed," she said. In 2011, 61 people took their lives in Kent County, and six of them were under the age of 19.

According to ‘Healthy Kids-2020'  Director Barb Hawkins, there have been 39 suicides so far this year. Four were committed by people under the age of 19 — including one 12-year-old. Over the course of last school year, a few districts suffered loses.  "Rockford unfortunately had two suicide deaths last year," said Buck. “We're talking about it, that's the good thing.”

One person talking about it is Roger Beukema of Cedar Springs. He survived his drug addiction and suicide attempt. "I just decided to commit suicide and I forgot to put a shell in my chamber," he said. Beukema sees the consequences of suicide first-hand; he works at a funeral home. 

"They come to the funeral home to say goodbye to their friends who have committed suicide, and as a funeral assistant, I take them up to the casket and show them the body —if it's presentable, and what the effects are. This is a non-returning event," he said.  

"I think not talking about it, is worse than talking about it," said Campbell. Campbell is also working to prevent teen suicides. Nearly every month in her group of family members of suicide victims, she meets a new member.

"It does break my heart, and I see them and see how much they're struggling," she said.

Buck says 80% of teens won't get help for mental illness because they're too afraid to talk. She also says those contemplating suicide often give clues on public sites like Facebook.


            Schools and Bullying

The numbers continue to rise every month...

bullying_big

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. 

From the  National Education Association :  American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. 

 

 THE NUMBERS  : Source Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.

- 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.

- 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.

- 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

- 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

- 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.

- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month. Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.

- 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying. Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers. Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.

- 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”

- 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.

- 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.

- 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.

According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying. Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior:

•  Physical – hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack. Damage to or taking someone else’s belongings may also constitute as physical bullying.

• Verbal – name calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks

• Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending abusive mail, and email and text messages (cyber bullying).

• Cyber Bullying - any type of bullying that is carried out by electronic medium.  There are 7 types including:

1. Text message bullying    2. Picture/video clip bullying via mobile phone cameras   3. Phone call bullying via mobile phones    4. E-mail bullying    5. Chat-room bullying   6. Bullying  through instant messaging   7. Bullying via web-sites.


Bully Related Suicide

Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. And in most cases, the young people die from hanging.  A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)

Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are "creeping up." (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl's age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)

• Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl's age. ("Constantly Bulled, He Ends His Life at Age 11," by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)

• Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (Thebullying-poster-b-212x300American Association of Suicidology, AAS)

• In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)

•  In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network —GLSEN)

Research indicates that LGB youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)

•  In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.

• Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year  because of their sexual orientation

• Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed

• About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.

• Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school.

• Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did  nothing in response.

Think bullying doesn't hurt? A new study suggests otherwise, finding that a youth aged 10 to 17 who reports that he or she has been victimized by peers in the past year is nearly 2 1/2 times likelier to have suicidal thoughts than an adolescent who reports no recent victimization. If you add the experience of sexual assault or parental maltreatment to peer victimization, a child's likelihood of pondering suicide is 3.4 times and 4.4 times as high, respectively, as that of a child with no such recent history.

The study makes clear in myriad ways that family support is a bulwark against youth suicide when an adolescent is being bullied by peers. When parents contribute to an adolescent's sense of victimization, the authors suggest, hopelessness is far likelier to take hold, and suicidal thinking likely follows.

Adolescents were also more likely to have contemplated suicide when their families were fractured. Kids living with a single parent or other adults were not substantially more likely than kids in two-parent families to ponder self-harm. But those living in a stepfamily or with a parent and unmarried partner were three times more likely to do so than those living with both biological or adoptive parents.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans between 15 and 24 years of age. A British study has linked roughly half of adolescent suicides to bullying. Increasingly, newer research is finding that victims of bullying often have other risk factors that make suicide a higher probability. This study underscores that steering kids from self-harm requires an approach that looks at all dimensions of their lives.

"A comprehensive approach to suicide prevention needs to address the safety of youth in their homes, schools and neighborhoods," wrote the authors, who come from the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center as well as Sewanee, the University of the South.


Congress Addressed on Military Suicides

Congressman Steven Austria of Ohio was granted permission to address the U.S. House of Representatives for steveaustriaa few minutes on September 20, 2012. During that time he spoke about the rise of suicides in the military.

“Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to publicly recognize September as Suicide Prevention Month. As a member of the Military Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Caucus, my goal is to increase awareness and aid in the prevention of suicide. Although suicide affects thousands of Americans each year, I would like to take a moment to focus specifically on our veterans and the men and women who are currently serving in our United States military."

“Suicides are increasing at an alarming rate this year for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Recent data shows that suicides are occurring at a rate of approximately one per day for the military. This makes suicide the second-leading cause of death for our troops, surpassed only by combat. The Army, in particular, has seen a 22 percent suicide increase when comparing the first 7 months in both 2011 and 2012,”  he explained. 

He indicated that “detection and treatment” are key components required for resolution. Those closest to the military member can often see signals of distress before the member recognizes it in himself or herself. “The quicker the detection, the quicker the treatment,” he said.

Addressing the root causes of suicide the Congressman indicated the factors include legitimate medical reasons.  “As our young men and women are fighting to protect our freedoms, while they're often faced with multiple and lengthy employments, exposed to stressful situations in combat--including death--we cannot look thetn_0_congressionalseal other way and hope that these issues disappear. The reality is we are faced with a growing number of  PTSD, TBI, depression, and suicide within our military and veterans. This is a real problem. And if we can alleviate one of the symptoms and causes of suicide, PTSD, we may see a change in the current trend line before the problem becomes completely systemic across our fighting force,” he explained. 

“We need to do whatever is possible to recognize these veterans at risk and help them get the assistance they need,”  he added.


Stopping Suicides a Team Effort  -  Sept. 2013

The Exeter community is again grieving after the loss of a third Exeter High School,  (New Hampshire, CT )  student to suicide in two years.

exeter_high_sealWe cannot imagine the anguish these teens' parents, family, friends, classmates and teachers are enduring. We hope they can gain some measure of comfort by the encouraging and heartfelt efforts by Exeter High School students to prevent another classmate from taking their own life.

Freshmen Colin Seeley and Abigail Dixson sought to raise $1,800 through a special walk being put on by the National Alliance of Mental Illness -New Hampshire to institute a training program for fellow students in suicide prevention. Clearly, these young leaders deserve praise for getting this effort front and center, but they need the full force of the school community — teachers, administrators and parents — to have a long-lasting impact.

The two freshmen exceeded their goal, raising more than $2,300 and plan to continue fund-raising to bring additional training to Exeter community members such as athletic coaches, clergy, law enforcement personnel, merchants, parents and recreation staff.

Eighteen staff members from the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham and Exeter High School, including both principals, underwent training earlier this year, according to Carol Andre, special education administrator. This involved "train-the-trainer initiatives," meaning the people who completed training are now qualified to train other people in suicide prevention and "postvention," that is, what you do after a suicide.

The more community members trained in suicide prevention the better. By providing teens and adults with tools they need to spot warning signs of suicide, the hope is to be better able to detect and minimize the risk. We agree with Elaine de Mello, supervisor of training and prevention services of the National Alliance of Mental Illness - N.H., that this is a major step in the right direction. We also take heed of mental health officials' words that signs of suicide can be hard to detect in teens and impulsivity is an area in which the effort to prevent tragedy requires greater educational efforts.

We think the effort overall can be taken a step further. With all three suicides since early 2010 involving underclassmen, it's important that middle school students be exposed to some form of training. The first two of the recent suicides involved freshmen, while this month's tragedy involved a teen only a few weeks into his sophomore year.

De Mello said it's not standard practice to get into specific suicide prevention with middle-schoolers. However, there are programs at other schools across the country that teach young people coping skills, including how to ask for help from adults and how to take care of themselves. Let's do that at CMS. Whether money to support the effort is raised through a similar fund-raiser or included in the 2013-2014 Cooperative School District operating budget, it's a necessity. While we believe fully in the value of suicide prevention efforts in high school, there is a fear it may reach students too late.

Secondly, it should be mandatory for all CMS and EHS staff to undergo suicide prevention training. It's now state law that staff undergo anti-bullying training. It doesn't seem unreasonable to require staff to dedicate additional time to this other criticalnamiprogram.

NAMI-NH equates suicide prevention to building a "safety net for young people around the community."  It's taking a tragic situation and transforming that into what we hope will be a positive result.


We know that grief will come to us and to the ones that we love. 

Grief will always be a personal and unchartered journey. 

The pain of grief that we will encounter will change us.  But, we pray that it will not define us.  

Mourning is not the end of the relationship.  Our love for them does not die with them.  

We will create a new heart filled with the memories of the one that we have lost

 ... and that ‘heart- different' will feed our souls.

 



Visit the Albuquerque SOS Web Site for Local Meeting Information at

www.sosabq.org

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www.sharingnhealing.org 

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