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The statistics on suicide are alarming. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
“September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so it’s a great opportunity to bring this leading health crisis into the spotlight,” says Nancy Goranson, PsyD, attending psychologist overseeing clinical care for children and teens at Rogers' West Allis campus. “The pandemic is adding a lot of stressors for everyone,” she adds. “Some children are feeling hopeless and uncertain about their futures, and maybe even feeling unsafe. Community and national events are affecting their mental health, too. The good thing is, there are more conversations happening around mental health.”
“It’s important to know what’s true,” says Katie Brindowski, therapist in the DBT Mental Health Recovery program for early adolescents in West Allis. “Even with all the information about suicide, there are common misconceptions.”
Brindowski shares five common suicide myths:
Brindowski says it’s important to know the behaviors that could indicate someone is considering suicide.
“If someone you love is thinking about suicide, listen and be present,” says Brindowski. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Validate how they’re feeling, offer support, and remove any means to suicide like chemicals, medications, and sharp objects which significantly reduces the risk of suicide.”
Dr. Goranson adds, “Don’t panic or get upset. Stay calm. Approach the conversation with open curiosity. Say things like. ‘Tell me more about it. It sounds like you have been feeling sad for a while.’ Let the person guide the conversation. Don’t make them feel guilty for talking about it. Instead, say you’re glad they told you, give them hope for the future that things will get better, and assist them in getting help immediately.”
Dr. Goranson shares several resources for suicide prevention:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741 741
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
LGBT National Help Center: 888-843-4564
Rogers’ multi-disciplinary teams offers compassionate care for children, teens, and adults across the country. Call 800-767-4411 or request a free screening online.
“Our team of experts specializes in helping kids who are depressed and have suicidal thoughts,” says Dr. Goranson. “Our evidence-based treatment has demonstrated outcomes that work. Our staff listens, and help normalize what kids are feeling. They’re not uncomfortable or afraid of talking about the issues the kids come in with. Children see other kids at different stages of healing, they see others who have overcome, and it gives them hope.”
Brindowski says, “We know COVID-19 is taking a toll. It’s been a tough time for everyone. We are here, and we want to help.”
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