Thompson School District’s Thompson CARES Team offers a comprehensive approach to serving students and families by blending school resources with community resources. In order to meet the specific needs of each individual student, Thompson CARES provides students and parents evidence-based programs for prevention, crisis intervention, and treatment. If a student is in immediate crisis while at school, a mental health specialist will be contacted if the student is expressing suicidal thoughts or experiencing another immediate crisis that involves their safety. Parents will then be notified immediately and included while a plan and team of support is put into place for the student.
Immediate steps to take if your child or teen is talking about depression or suicide:
1. Never leave a person talking about suicide alone, keep them safe by being present.
2. Acknowledge them that you are taking them serious.
3. Let them know that you will help access resources to keep them safe.
4. Assure them that you will be with them throughout the process.
Important tips you can take to prevent suicide and keeping your child safe:
You can make a difference! All of us can help prevent suicide by recognizing warning signs, identifying risk factors, promoting protective factors, and knowing how to seek mental health services. Empower yourself and your child!
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUTH SUICIDE?
Risk factors for exhibiting suicidal behavior:
- Loss of significant other
- Social or academic problems at school
- Family or personal stress
- Substance abuse
- Depression and other mental health issues
- Previous suicide of peer or family member
- Access to weapons/means of harming self
- Questions regarding sexual orientation
Students who are having suicidal thoughts may exhibit a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Significant changes in behavior, appearance, grades, eating or sleeping habits, or withdrawing from friends
- Making suicidal threats – either direct "I want to die" or indirect "things would be better if I weren't here."
- Appears sad or hopeless
- Reckless behavior
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Giving away prized possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Making out a will
It is important to remember the signs and risk factors listed are generalities. Not all students who contemplate suicide will exhibit these kinds of symptoms and not all students who exhibit these behaviors are suicidal.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP MY CHILD SAFE?
- ASK. Talking about suicide does not make a student suicidal. Asking if someone is having suicidal thoughts gives him/her permission to talk about it. Asking sends the message that you are concerned and want to help.
- TAKE SIGNS SERIOUSLY. Studies have found that more than 75% of people who die by suicide showed some of the warning signs in the weeks or months prior to their death.
- LIMIT ACCESS TO WEAPONS, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, MEDICATION, AND OTHER MEANS. Be aware and limit access to things in the home such as: guns, ammunition, alcohol, prescription medication, illegal drugs, knives, rope/extension cords, and harmful/toxic chemicals.
- DO NOT LEAVE HIM OR HER ALONE. It is important that parents surround themselves with a team of supportive friends or family members who can stop in and help as needed.
- REASSURE YOUR CHILD THAT LIFE CAN GET BETTER. Many suicidal people have lost all hope that life can improve. They may have difficulty problem solving even simple issues. Remind your child that no matter how bad things are, the problem can be worked out. Offer your help.
- LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. Avoid making statements such as "I know what it's like" or "I understand". Instead make statements such as "Help me understand what life is like for you right"
- TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. Interact with your teen daily in a positive manner, and increase their involvement in positive activities. Appropriately monitor your teen’s whereabouts and communications (texting, social media, etc) with the goal of promoting safety. Be aware of your teen’s social environments (friends, teammates) and communicate regularly with your child’s teachers.
- KNOW PROTECTIVE FACTORS. These factors have been shown to have protective effects against teen suicide; skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and handling problems in a nonviolent way. Strong connections to family, friends, and community support. Easy access to services.
- GET HELP. If you have concerns that your child is suicidal, seek immediate help from a mental health practitioner. Suicidal students need to be evaluated by an expert in assessing risk and developing treatment plans. Parents can contact school psychologists, social workers, or counselors for a listing of resources. Parents may also want to consult with their insurance company to obtain a list of mental health providers covered by their policy. When you call to make an appointment, state that your child is suicidal and needs to be seen as soon as possible.
HOW TO GET HELP
>> SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES
Teen Suicide Prevention Video for Parents & Guardians