Keeping our kids safe
Sadly, 17 youth – including an 11-year-old – have taken their own lives in the last four years in Shawnee County. On Tuesday, November 13, nationally-known speaker and mental health advocate Kevin Hines will give a presentation at 7 p.m. at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. It’s free and open to the public.
More than 2,000 people have attempted to take their own lives by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Only 26 have survived. Kevin is one of them.
In the years since, he has shared his story of pain, hope and miraculous recovery. Guests will better understand the mindset of a suicidal person and learn what we can all do to prevent deaths by suicide in our community. Kevin’s honesty and positivity have inspired thousands of people. He’ll inspire you, too.
The presentation is hosted by Shawnee County’s new youth suicide prevention initiative, “Suicide: Talk about it. Save a life.” The initiative is comprised of Family Service & Guidance Center, all five Shawnee County School districts, Hayden High School and the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Warning signs that a child or teen may need help
As many as four out of five suicidal people signal their intentions to others, hoping it will be noticed. Here are some warning signs that a child or teen may need help.
- Talking about suicide or death in general
- Talking about “going away”
- Referring to things they “won’t be needing” and giving things away
- A dramatic mood swing from very depressed/suicidal to seemingly being fine
- Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Losing interest in favorite activities
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits
- Drug use, drinking or self-harm
- Unexplained or unusually severe, violent or rebellious behavior
- Unusual neglect in appearance or hygiene
- Feeling sad or depressed for extended periods
- Obsession with death – often in music, poetry or artwork
Start the conversation with your child.
Raising a child is the toughest job in the world. Kids face so many challenges and risks today. One risk that doesn’t get talked about is the risk of suicide.
It might surprise you to know that talking about suicide cannot plant the idea in someone's head. Actually, it can get your child to talk and open up about a scary subject.
Talking to your child or teen about suicide may be difficult, but it could save their life.
- When you talk to your child about suicide, you are not giving them ideas. Talking about it can get your child to open up as well as give them permission to bring up the subject in the future.
- Parents talk to kids all the time about things like buckling up in the car, avoiding drugs and alcohol and not engaging in risky sexual activity. Parents should talk to their children about any behavior that can put them at risk, including suicide.
- You should talk to your child about the risk of suicide, even if they don’t bring it up. Approach it the same way you would another subject that is important to you but may or may not be important to them.
Kids and families don’t have to go it alone. Resources are available.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK (8255)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for someone who is suicidal as well as prevention and crisis resources for parents. Call anytime, day or night.
Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
The Crisis Text Line also makes it easy to get fast, free help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Since the text line was launched in 2013, trained volunteers have taken over 79 million text messages.
Family Service & Guidance Center: 785.232.5005
Whether your child is experiencing a mental health emergency and is in danger of hurting themselves or others or they’re having a difficult time following rules and paying attention at school. FSGC is here to help.
Call 785.232.5005. Crisis Services can be reached 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Appointments can be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.