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Suicide Awareness

By kchambers24 Oct 21, 2014 2426 Words

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FINALLY FACING THE ISSUE: A PROPOSAL FOR SUICIDE AWARNESS BEING IMPLIMENTED IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM BY
KELSEY J. CHAMBERS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE……………………………………………………………………………………1 TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………………………………..2 ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………………..3 PURPOSE……………………………………………………………………………………….4 OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE…………………………………………………………………..4 POTENTIAL OBJECTIONS…………………………………………………………………....6 SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………………………………………....8 CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………………….10 BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………………………………….12 I.ABSTRACT

This proposal paper explains why different steps need to be taken to not only increase suicide awareness among teens and teachers but how to help students cope with life problems that are thrown their way starting in Jordan Middle School. There are different databases that are cited within my paper to show the frightening statistics of suicides today and back up my ideas and thoughts. Some of the ideas I am sharing in my paper have been implemented before and have been proven successful. There are problems that pertain in this but I will explain why this is something that needs to be done urgently.

II. PURPOSE
The purpose of this proposal is to request implementing suicide awareness in our middle school and high school education systems and communities as well. I want not only this change to affect students in the school but also the parents, families, and teaching staff as well. My goal in writing this paper is to educate readers of what they can do to make this possible. Also, in reading this, the reader will understand more why this is something that needs to be done to potentially save lives. III.OVERVIEW OF THE ISSUE

That certain steps be taken throughout this school district to help struggling teens is my argument in this paper. I have many different ideas that I believe need to be implemented as quickly as possible into the school district and others as well. These ideas include the following: Having a speaker come in annually in the fall

August- have all teaching staff members trained to handle these situations in an annual mandatory meeting Breakout sessions through advisory
Numbers put in planners
Children in our school systems are venturing for assistance but are unaware of where to go and are too afraid to ask questions. I believe it is the schools duty to take care of this issue. In a recent CDC youth Risk Survey 8.5% of students in grades 9-12 reported a suicide attempt in the previous year. Another Survey of high school students found that almost 1 out of every 5 students considered suicide, 1 out of every 6 students made plans to attempt suicide and 1 in every 12 had made a suicide attempt in the past year (Teen). In Minnesota alone, 606 suicides were recorded in 2010 alone. According to experts, this number is just getting larger (Facts) With numbers increasing every year, children are in need of a change around the schools and people who care enough to advocate for them. We cannot expect them to handle the numerous amounts of challenges and problems life hands them alone without doing something about it first. Implementing these ideas is the least we can do to help out our teens. Why these ideas are necessary?

Adding these different ideas and events into our school district are necessary for the change that is needed today. Suicide is a problem that does not only affect the kids themselves but literally everyone else around them as well. School, being a place where numerous amounts of children come five days a week, is the perfect location for change to take place. The first reason why steps need to be taken in schools is because it will potentially save the lives of many children. “We expect our kids in our middle school to understand how to deal with what life throws at them by themselves.” Says Colleen Chambers, an educator at Jordan middle school “And then we wonder why they are struggling like they do.” I believe that when proper steps are taken and educators start showing they care about these problems, significant changes can and will be made. According to Alan Berman of the Washington School of Psychiatry, teenagers generally are in favor of suicide prevention programs. He states, “Most youngsters seem to find the programs of value to them. They enjoy being attended to and being given information and coping skills.” He expresses though how the children that are most at risk for committing suicide are the hardest to get involved. (Worsnop) With this being said, by enforcing this during school time more children will feel obligated to talk. IV. POTENTIAL OBJECTIONS

Many will say that there are many issues facing these changes I am proposing to you. From my standpoint I can see where there would be. Thus, I will consider these problems (printed in italics) and offer my insight on them. The more we talk about the issue the more likely it will happen. When people talk about suicide we put it into the brains of our students. According to Alan Berman of the Washington School of Psychiatry, teenagers generally are in favor of suicide prevention programs. He states, “Most youngsters seem to find the programs of value to them. They enjoy being attended to and being given information and coping skills.” He expresses though how the children that are most at risk for committing suicide are the hardest to get involved. (Worsnop) With this being said, by enforcing this during school time more children will feel obligated to talk. Don’t get me wrong I completely understand where this would be thought as a problem. In my mind though, the bigger problem is studies show 25 percent of kids will need some form of mental health services at some point in their lives. “but less than one-third [of those] receive services, and far fewer receive effective services.” States Mark Weist, director of the Center for School and Mental Health Assistance in Baltimore, Md., and a proponent of an emerging national movement to establish mental health services in schools. (Koch) “Students want to be helped. They just don’t know how to ask for it.” (Chambers) Takes away from class time. I understand there are other things to be dealt with in school like education itself. What I am asking for today is not much. It will not take much time away from any learning. Besides, is not saving a child’s life in the long run worth it? I feel like making sure the student’s of Jordan Middle School are taken care of mentally is much more prominent than anything else. There have not been many suicides in Jordan. I know this to be true and I understand that. Every school starts somewhere. As a school district you must understand that there are problems that are hidden in your students. Some worse than others but all effect the way the student thinks and lives their life. We need to sincerely care about these issues and do something about it before a suicide occurs. According to Lance Chambers, principal of Jordan Middle School, there have been suicide attempts taken place within the middle school. If something is not done about it sooner than later a suicide attempt will be successful. V. SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS

Where should these different ideas be established? I propose that they be implemented into every school in grades 5 through 12 starting with Jordan Middle School. I have many different ideas that I feel would not only benefit the students that attend school but the teachers, families, and community as well. Speaker in the fall of each year

I believe that having a speaker come in annually, each fall and during the school day would benefit people immensely. My idea with this would be to not only provide this event for students but open it up to the public as well. Students would invite their parents to come as well if they would like. The speaker would talk about the disease itself, how it affects people, and then how it affected his/her life. I know this would be very eye-opening for every single individual in attendance. Mandatory meeting for teachers annually

“Every year we have a mandatory blood spill meeting that informs us teachers how to handle that situation. Why are teachers not being informed on how to handle the serious problems that these children are going through in their lives?” Says Colleen Chambers. This is truly such a problem in my eyes. “We have all these problems and they are being put to the side because some teachers are unaware of how to handle them.” (Chambers) I propose that every August, just like the blood spill meeting, teachers be sent to meeting that help them understand how to handle these situations hands on. How can we expect children to understand how to handle these issues if our teaching staff does not even know how to? Numbers in Planners

Every year students get free planners at the beginning of the year to keep. My idea is that numbers be placed in these planners that include counselor’s phone number, a suicide hotline number, and the email addresses to both as well. This way students have these numbers handy to them at all times. Students also in most cases don’t feel comfortable asking about numbers as such. This ensures that they have it just in case a problem should arise. Breakout sessions through advisory time

At Jordan Middle School, as you know, at the beginning of each school day every kid is assigned to a specific teacher in a thing called “Advisory”. During this time, students will do different activities with his/her teacher. What I propose is that a curriculum be set up through the middle school that can be taught twice a week through Advisory. Through this curriculum teachers can do the following: Teach factual information on depression, suicide, and about common myths of suicide Offer effective strategies to cope with everyday life stressors Teach adaptive ways of coping and how to recognize signs

Teach positive ways to increase self- esteem, manage anger, communicate with their parents and resolve conflicts. Talk about real life scenarios and how to handle them ( put kids in groups) Have the kids journal their personal thoughts and about their day for only them to see Do different volunteer activities

Watch videos on these issues
Some of these same techniques are used in the Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program developed by Catherine Strunk, RN, and offered by the Division of Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. These techniques have been proven affective in many cases. (King) “I taught a curriculum called Circle of Support in two previous school districts. I loved it and I thought it was very effective for students.” Expressed Colleen Chambers of Jordan Middle School (Chambers). Circle Of Support is a curriculum based on providing overall education and training for teachers and students to identify and refer children who possess these signs of depression. Also, it aims to assists high risk teens in effective ways (Circle). I think implementing something like this throughout our school would be nothing but beneficial to our students. The roles of teachers are often misunderstood in my opinion. Many believe that it is just to teach to the best of their abilities. I even would venture to say that many teachers believe that is true themselves. While I will agree that is a part of it, it is far from everything that a teacher needs to accomplish in order to be affective. Educators should be doing all they can to ensure that each child is safe under their watch and these kids are anything but safe anymore. They are in danger of losing their lives to suicide if something is not done about it now. VI. CONCLUSION

I am very aware as a student the different amounts of pressure and stress that an individual feels to be the best they can. Life is not easy and I know that if it would not have been for my parents being as stable as they are and caring that it would have been really tough for me. As you know, there have not been many suicides in Jordan at all. Last year I can remember hearing about seven that happened in surrounding schools, two of which happened in Norwood Young America. The reason this topic is so special to me is because one of those Norwood boys that ended his life was my best friend. Andrew Mulville was an amazing guy with such a bright future. He ended his life on March 22nd 2012. I now know more about suicide then I ever thought was possible. Before Andrew’s death I had no idea the signs of suicide but if I would have I known I would have noticed something was wrong with him. Suicide doesn’t just affect the person who does it. If anything it affects the family and friends more. Andrew’s family and friends still are suffering from the loss and still not much is done about it in schools. I proposed these ideas not because of what has happened but because of what is a possibility of happening in the future. Let’s not wait until someone dies to implement this let’s do something about it now before it is too late. VII. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kelsey Chambers
Preliminary Works
King, Keith A. "Preliminary Effectiveness of Surviving the Teens® Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program on Adolescents' Suicidality and Self-Efficacy in Performing Help-Seeking Behaviors." Journal of School Health 81.9 (2010): n. pag. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO Host. Web. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=5&hid=8&sid=c24a285a-29be-4ec5-b2a9-101bd508db47%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=64728125>. Worsnop, Richard L. "Teenage Suicide." CQ Researcher. CQ Press, n.d. Web. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1991061400&type=hitlist&num=0>. Hosansky, David. "Youth Suicide." CQ Researcher. CQ Press, n.d. Web. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2004021300&type=hitlist&num=2>. Koch, Kathy. "Childhood Depression." CQ Researcher. CQ Press, n.d. Web. <http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1999071600&type=hitlist&num=2>. "Facts and Figures." American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Global Cloud, n.d. Web. <http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?page_id=04ea1254-bd31-1fa3-c549d77e6ca6aa37>. "Teen Suicide Awareness: Statistics." Teacher Vision. Pearson Education, n.d. Web. <http://www.teachervision.fen.com/education-and-social-issues/mental-health/57131.html>. "Circle Of Support." Universtiy of Minnesota Extension. University of Minnesota, 2005. Web. <http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/youthdevelopment/DA6113.html>. Chambers, Colleen. Phone interview. 1, Dec. 2012.

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