Teen suicide is a serious matter. We are bombarded in the news lately with stories and video of teen bullying (cyber and other) as well as other forms of teen harassment. Teens are feeling overwhelmed more than ever and I don’t blame them. It’s seems the stakes are getting higher as we are see an increase of teen suicides. Many articles have told us that teens don’t tell their parents about the bullying that occurs (via Facebook, text, blogs, etc.) because they fear that their parents will take away their electronic devices such as phones and computers. Clearly, the message that teens should talk to their parents about these issues isn’t fully solving the problem. We need other tools/options as well.
Teens need to be aware that other sources of information, help and support are out there. Last weekend, I went to a fund-raiser for Family Services of Marin and learned of a new tool in the prevention of teen suicide. It’s called “TeenScreen” and was developed by Columbia University. It’s the first screening of its kind that seems to identity the warning signals as all stage of distress, gives practical feedback/advice and has reduced teen suicide rates. By administering this simple screening to teens, they can identify those on the “check list” as being in danger. Teens who have been given the screening were surprised to see just how accurate the readings were and some teens didn’t even realize that the issues they struggle with on a daily basis were “not common” and could lead to negative behaviours. This is an amazing tool that’s inexpensive, practical and can easily be implemented by schools.
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