At the November Parent Journey meeting, we had an open discussion in response to the three recent local teen suicides. We were fortunate to have Laura Coleman LMFT, who is a UUCPA member, in attendance. Here are some wonderful resources offered by Laura and Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern:
— A great local article from Meg Durbin (whose kids went through the UUCPA Coming of Age program several years ago) on helping those in crisis: http://paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/10/17/guest-opinion-how-to-help-those-in-crisis
— Project Safety Net has links on its homepage to general guidelines for parents of elementary and secondary school-age kids on noting warning signs and talking to kids.
— Project Cornerstone has an excellent, evidence-supported approach to building up the kinds of developmental assets that lessen the risk of suicide and other forms of self-harm and risky behavior. Just looking at these developmental assets is really helpful in answering the questions, “What helps? What can I do?”
In our group discussion at Parent Journey, we talked about how “prevention” really takes place years before the time of crisis, when children and teens are developing their identity, values, and sense of self-worth, and finding meaning in their lives. We found the developmental assets from Project Cornerstone to be important and worth examining in detail. There are ideas for how to develop each asset in the links on the page above, and detailed lists of the 41 developmental assets for each age group here.
— Adolescent Counselling Services in Palo Alto also has prevention and treatment resources for families.
— Finally, this is a toll-free suicide and crisis hotline number for Suicide and Crisis Service of Santa Clara County (SACS) — Amy suggested that we all put this number in our cell phones, in case we are ever talking to a friend or family member who needs help:
I feel fortunate to be part of a community at UUCPA that already does so much to support the long-view prevention of these tragedies, and I hope we can do even more to have a positive impact on the lives of our families and young people.
— Shannon Jones, coordinator of Parent Journey at UUCPA