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Students Focusing on Mental Health

On Sunday mornings this Fall, our students are focusing on mental health and how if affects teens. Depression in teens is at an all-time high, and we want to be sure that we as a church are providing the support they need. We will be talking about the warning signs of depression and suicide, and what our students as peers and friends can do about it.

Last Sunday, our students were given some information and resources to help.

WARNING SIGNS OF DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
  1. Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks..
  2. Severe out of control, risk-taking behaviors that can cause harm to self or others. What does this mean?
  3. Overwhelming fear or sense of dread with no clear trigger sometimes with a racing heart, physical discomfort or fast breathing. Sometimes referred to as a panic attack.
  4. Throwing up, using laxatives or not eating to lose weight.
  5. Seeing or hearing things that other people can't see or hear.
  6. Repeated use of drugs or alcohol.
  7. Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits. Have you ever had a friend that seemed to change overnight?
  8. Extreme difficulty concentrating that puts a person in physical danger or causes school failure.
  9. Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities.

WHAT CAN YOU DO
  1. Share Your concerns. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about it,
  2. Have a list of resources your friend can use.
  3. Open the conversation by sharing specific signs you’ve observed.
  4. Here’s an example: “Meghan, I’ve noticed lately you haven’t been sleeping and you’ve been posting a lot of sad poems on Instagram. Are you all right? Do you think you’re depressed?”
  5. If you think your friend may be thinking about suicide, ask a direct question.
  6. “Are you thinking about suicide?”
  7. “When was the last time you thought about suicide?”
  8. If your friend answers yes or if you think they might be at risk talk to an adult you trust immediately or call the national suicide lifeline 1-800-273-8255 or even 911

WHAT TO SAY:
It's important that you listen, express concern, reassure. Focus on being understanding and nonjudgmental. Some things you might say are:
  • You are not alone. I’m here for you.
  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel but I care about you and want to help.
  • I’m concerned about you and I want you to know there is help available.
  • You are important to me; we will get through this together.

WHAT NOT TO SAY:
  • Don’t promise secrecy. Instead say “I care about you too much to keep this kind of thing a secret. You need help and I’m here to help you get it.”
  • We all go through times like these. You’ll be fine.
  • It’s all in your head. Just snap out of it.
  • Try not to ask in a way that indicates you want no for an answer: “You’re not thinking about suicide are you?

RESOURCES
  •  Your life Your voice http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org or Text VOICE to 20121
  • Every day, 12 Noon to 12 Midnight CST.
  • Teen Line: open 6pm-10pm call 310-855-HOPE (4673) or text TEEN to 839863
  • National SuicidePrevention Lifeline: 1-800-273- TALK (8255)
  • NAMI of Seattle http://namiseattle.org CALL 206-783-9264 or email [email protected]
  • The Office of Lisa Zbaraschuk, MD - 206-522-8553 ext 301 teen and adolescent therapist.

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